Fort Worth Police and Firefighters Memorial
Memorial Location

The memorial is located on the north end of Trinity Park along West 7th Street. It occupies approximately five acres of park. » Get Directions

Hours of Operation
5:00am - 11:30pm
The displays and paths are always illuminated.

Contact Information

By Mail
3801 Hulen Suite 101
Fort Worth, Texas 76107

By Phone

A promise of remembrance.

Bobby Wayne Abshire

41 years, 2 months

Length of Service:
13 Years


Date of Birth
April 9, 1943

Date of Injury:
June 9, 1984

Date of Death:
June 9, 1984

Location of Incident:
2500 Airport Freeway, Bedford, TX

Bobby Wayne Abshire was hired as a Fort Worth Firefighter in 1971 and held the rank of “Engineer”.

On June 9, 1984 at about 0230 hrs, Bobby Wayne Abshire was off-duty and was driving his personal vehicle at 2500 Airport Freeway in Bedford when he observed a vehicle stalled on the freeway, partially blocking a lane of traffic. This vehicle clearly represented a hazardous situation that put both the occupant and other drivers at tremendous risk. The driver of the vehicle was attempting to flag down passing cars.

Abshire, who specialized in providing and instructing in emergency medical care, stopped about 100 yards ahead of the disabled and walked back to the car to see if could provide assistance. While talking to Gary Thomas, the driver of the disabled vehicle, an oncoming vehicle lost control and swerved around the disabled car, and headed toward Bobby Abshire and Gary Thomas. Bobby Abshire, seeing the car heading toward himself and Thomas, yelled at Thomas to “Watch out!” and shoved Gary Thomas out of the vehicle’s path.

The out of control vehicle continued, striking and fatally injuring Abshire. Gary Thomas was uninjured. The driver of the vehicle that struck Abshire was arrested and later found to be intoxicated.

Gary Thomas later told police investigators and newspaper reporters that Abshire had shoved him out of the way of oncoming vehicle and saved his life. Thomas related; “We heard tires squeal and saw the lights. He yelled ‘Watch out,’ pushed me off to the side of the road and it hit him. He was just one of those nice guys that stops to help anybody.”

Fort Worth District Fire Chief Jim Noah later told newspaper reporters; “It was typical of something he’d do; he’d always stop to help somebody. In an emergency when somebody was sick or hurt, he was terrific.” Noah also related that Abshire’s military experience in emergency situations earned him the respect of firefighters enrolled in emergency medical technician training programs.

Fort Worth Fire Department Captain and Chaplain, Ed Stauffer, told reporters; “Bobby was the type of firefighter that was always willing to help. He was always involved, especially in emergency medical care.”

Bobby Abshire’s widow, Jean Abshire, related a story to newspaper reporters at the time of his death. Jean Abshire told them; “I remember one night we were coming home from a ballgame and a young kid had been hit on a bicycle. He had to stop and help. He was always doing that. He’d tell me; ‘I could be the difference between someone living and someone dying because I know what I’m doing.’”.

On August 31, 1984, the driver of the vehicle that struck Abshire, Wayne Leonard Whitlock, pleaded guilty to manslaughter charges relating to the death of Abshire and was sentenced to 7 years in the Texas Department of Corrections.

Prior to becoming a Fort Worth Firefighter, Bobby Abshire was a United States Marine and was a veteran of three tours of duty in Vietnam. His final two tours of duty were as a medical evacuation specialist. It was while on his final tour of duty that Abshire was recognized for rescuing 23 wounded Marines while under heavy fire. Abshire was nominated for the Medal of Honor and was later awarded the Navy Cross for his actions.

The circumstances of Bobby Wayne Abshire’s death very clearly illustrate that Abshire was attempting to preserve life, prevent injury and prevent property damage. These are the duties of all Fort Worth Firefighters.

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