CRANFORD, NJ — Mayor Tom Hannen’s voice cracked with emotion as he paid tribute to longtime resident Brian Koshney at the close of the Aug. 14 township committee meeting.
Hannen remembered Koshney, 50, who died of cancer earlier that day at Overlook Medical Center in Summit.
The resident was a repairman for the Cranford pools for 32 years and a mechanic at Cranford Sunoco for many years. He also served in Cranford Fire Department as a part-time firefighter for 23 years.
The mayor said Koshney was made a lieutenant in the call department in 2016.
“Brian was always willing to help people, and loved telling stories of fires past with both the older members of the fire department and passing those stories down to the newer members of the department,” he said.
Hannen said that during the previous few weeks, the Cranford Fire Department had included Koshney in their morning radio test, which he answered from his room at the Cranford Rehab and Nursing Center on Birchwood Avenue.
“This morning, Brian didn’t answer the radio test,” Hannen said. “Brian’s answered his final bell, and we will miss him very much.”
According to the mayor, anyone who stopped at the Sunoco on a Saturday morning or afternoon would see Koshney emerging from the bays to welcome the customers with his signature greeting: “Hello, Puddin’!”
Hannen added that there’s no doubt that Koshney would be “telling those stories of fires past as old firemen tend to do and keeping that firehouse in the sky ready and manned for the rest of us until we make the final call. Rest in peace, Brian.”
Koshney was predeceased by his parents, Raymond and Anne. He is survived by his sisters Kathleen O’Brien and Theresa Brownlee; brother, Dan Koshney; nieces and nephews Dylan, Reagan, Taylor, Kennedi and Lochlyn; and the Petschow and Dolan families.
A GoFundMe account has been set up to help his family pay for Koshney’s funeral expenses