(03/17/2002)
By Bob Weaver

Former longtime Fire Chief of the Spencer-Roane Volunteer Fire Department died Friday morning at Roane General Hospital. Dr. Granville H. Lance, 71, gave more to his community than any man I have known.

The retired dentist was a buzz saw of activity, day and night, volunteering as a firemen since his high school days. He was currently working as a part-time 911 dispatcher.

He loved fire service and became one of the region's excellent fire fighting instructors. Serving in several capacities, he devoted thousands of hours to hundreds of community efforts, including his devotion to local sports. He always showed up. Like all doers, he would sometimes be embodied in controversy, with little doubt on where he stood on any issue.

When snow fell in the 60's decade, Granville would rise and go to the fire station to chain the pumper trucks, just in case. His life was placed on the thin line many times over the years, once falling through the floor of a burning bathroom to severely cut his hand, threatening his dental career.

When I moved to Spencer in 1961, he was among the first people I met, and we have been friends all these years. I moved to Spencer to help put WSPZ Radio (now WVRC) on the air, and he became the voice of the Spencer High Yellow Jackets. I could never keep up with him, nor could anyone else. We had some adventuresome times, great laughs, and the stories would go on for hours.

A few weeks ago I spent a few hours with him at the fire station. He was still full of enthusiasm and spoke with endless detail about the fire equipment and what needed to be done next. He had that "steel trap" mind, while annoying to some, allowed him to perform with excellence.

Granville was among several young people in the 60's who would stay up all hours of the night trying to come up with projects to help Spencer and Roane County. It was an eclectic bunch, businessmen and citizens from different political groups, who helped bring Spencer and Roane County to the forefront. They never seemed to sleep.

Between practicing dentistry, Granville answered thousands of fire, medical and rescue calls in the community. I am hopeful the newer generation of Roane citizens will be aware of his body of work spanning over 50 years.

Granville has slowed down in death for a deserved rest.

I am grateful for his longtime dedication and support as a friend, and will miss his presence.


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