Late Ridgefield firefighter served as ‘role model’ and was ‘epitome’ of what firefighter should be

Photo of Sandra Diamond Fox

RIDGEFIELD — Photography, music, travel, nature — firefighter paramedic Raymond (Tim) Nobes knew extensively about all those subjects — and much more, said his friend and colleague Tony Cerulli.

Nobes, 57, died June 22 after a two-year battle with pancreatic cancer. The Newtown resident was a married father of four who graduated from Danbury High School and was a U.S Army veteran.

He worked for the Ridgefield Fire Department for 20 years before retiring in 2021, in addition to serving as an on-staff paramedic for the Brookfield Volunteer Fire Department for nearly two decades where he was awarded honorary chief in May 2022, according to his obituary.

Cerulli, a captain in the Ridgefield Fire Department, said Nobes was knowledgeable about many topics.

“He'd work hard to be an expert in everything he was doing — from being a father to a firefighter to a friend to a cook,” said Cerulli, about Nobes, who he knew for about 20 years.

Cerulli said Nobes also served as a “role model” to his colleagues when it came to being deeply involved with his children’s lives from the time they were very young.

Cerulli said Nobes would often share the details in his children’s lives with his colleagues.

“He was active with his daughter when she was younger, like in homeroom or at school or PTA,” Cerulli said.

“We used to always call him the room mom,” Cerulli chuckled.

“His thing is just to be there. You don't always have to give advice or do anything special but just be present,” he added. “As we're sitting around talking, we’d just strive to be just to be like him.”

Retired Ridgefield Fire Lieutenant David Dachinger said Nobes was the type of person who made everyone he came into contact with feel comfortable.

“He instantly put you at ease and instantly was there to sort of teach, to mentor, to support in a very gentle and humble way,” Dachinger said.

“He was just the fireman's firemen and paramedic’s paramedic, meaning he was the epitome of what those roles should be,” he added.

Nobes was in charge of the department's rescue, training and rescue equipment — and in that role, became well known throughout the department, Dachinger said.

“He virtually trained everybody in the department on technical rescue, which means using ropes, or it could be an extrication of an automobile accident,” he said. “And so the skills that Tim taught all of us, we all use throughout our careers during rescue situations.”

Dachinger compared his late friend to star of the former TV action-adventure series “MacGyver.”

“If you were stranded on a desert island and the one person you would want to be with you who could handle any situation, solve any problem, figure out how to work through not having the right stuff on hand — He was the guy,” he said.

Additionally, Dachinger said when Nobes worked as an EMS in patient care, Nobes treated each patient with respect “in terms of taking care of them and giving the highest quality of care that you'd want your grandmother to have. He was just the consummate professional that way.”

Staying positive

After Nobes received his cancer diagnosis, rather than dwelling on the negative, he instead saw the positive, Dachinger said.

“Tim chose to focus on life and focus on living, focus on beauty, focus on nature, like birds and bees — not only photographing them, but drawing them, and then he shared it with the world,” Dachinger said.

Nobes created a Facebook page called Natures Beauty Group, where he and others would post their nature pictures.

While Nobes eventually retired from his profession, he remained immersed in fire department life.

“He continued to do training for the fire department and for other departments as well. That was something Tim loved doing — being an instructor and an educator,” Dachinger said.

During the pandemic, Nobes would conduct virtual training sessions for the fire department.

“I collaborated with him on some of those,” Dachinger said. “And he loved bringing knowledge and skills to firefighters and EMS personnel.”

Dachinger said not only did Nobes have a great relationship with the entire Ridgefield department, he was well known and well liked throughout other departments and industries as well.

"He was renowned through Fairfield County and probably in most of the state of Connecticut. He worked in many agencies — some volunteer agencies and many times now, just mentioning his name, there are people that have been touched by his legacy and the scope of what he brought as an instructor and as a professional,” Dachinger said. “It's just incredible. He truly had a very wide impact on many people.”

Retired fire captain David McDevitt, who was Nobes’ shift commander for 10 years, said for those 10 years, Nobes was the “glue” to their shift.

“His even temperament always resonated through our entire group of firefighters. He naturally motivated everyone to serve the community of Ridgefield to the highest degree,” McDevitt said. “He delivered the entire package — many times performing rescues, fighting fires and delivering supreme emergency medical care to his patients. Anyone that had Tim Nobes as a paramedic got the best care available. His departure from this earth is a huge loss on so many levels. He will be missed very much.”

A celebration of life for Nobes will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. July 10 at Danbury Memorial Funeral Home, 117 South St.. To light a candle in his memory or leave a condolence, visit the tribute wall at