Michael Joseph Kormash, retired Newark FD Deputy Chief, passed on 7/29/2021 after a long and courageous battle with cancer.
The funeral will be from the Thiele-Reid Family Funeral Home, 585 Belgrove Drive, Kearny, NJ on Thursday, August 5 at 10:00 a.m. A Funeral Mass will be offered in Queen of Peace Church, North Arlington, NJ at 11:00 a.m. Cremation will be private. Relatives and friends are invited to visit the funeral home on Wednesday, August 4 from 4 to 8 p.m.
Born and raised in the Ironbound Section of Newark, Michael graduated from Eastside HS and began his career as a Correction Officer at Rahway State Prison. Although he did exemplary work there, his dream was to serve the city he grew up in. Accepted in both the Police and Fire Dept, he chose the NFD, graduating First in his Academy class in 1979. Over the years, he was awarded many citations and awards, including the Valor Award in 2013 for his heroic actions on the night of Hurricane Sandy, where he and his fellow firefighters rescued 7 PSEG workers.
“The GEEB”, as he was affectionally referred to by his brothers-in-arms, rose through the ranks first as Captain, then Battalion Chief in 2011, and finally Deputy Chief, attaining each title by placing number 1 on the promotional test. He was a “Firefighter’s firefighter”. Considered the “best of the best”, he earned the respect and devotion of his men by his dedication, professionalism, and grace under fire. He was instrumental in the development of the NFD Dive team and earned his Boat Captain’s license for service on both Fire Boats.
As a talented artist and graphic designer, while on the department, Mike designed many customized t-shirts for several companies, special events, as well as the logo for the Pipe and Drum Band. You were considered amongst the elite to sport one of those special shirts.
In his free time, Mike was an avid scuba diver, logging in over 1000 dives, and was certified as both a Rescue Diver and Technical Diver. His greatest joy was being underwater, exploring the wrecks off of Key Largo, Key West, and Cayman Brac. He was a talented wildlife photographer, traveling several times to Alaska to photograph grizzly bears in the wild; to Nova Scotia to capture the antics of humpback and minke whales, and of course, underwater to video sharks in the Bahamas. He also logged thousands of miles on his bicycle, training and competing in long-distance road races throughout NJ. Skiing in Colorado, mountain biking in NY state, discovering elusive eagles’ nests in Maryland - all these things brought him great joy, and he shared all these passions with his wife, Mary.
Pre-deceased by both his father Walter and mother Catherine, (nee Mccann), Mike leaves behind his devoted wife of 38 years, Mary Elizabeth (née: Russell) whom he met while he was a young firefighter and she was a paramedic @ UMDNJ. His brother Nicholas and his wife, Karen, his sister PattyAnn and her husband, Wayne. In addition, his many loving nieces and nephews, in-laws, friends, and colleagues.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Michael’s memory to the Coral Restoration Foundation, 5 Seagate Blvd, Key Largo, Florida 3307 (coralrestoration.org) would be greatly appreciated.
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