William Harry Deitz was born on May 16, 1937, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to Frank C. Deitz and Caroline Deitz (née unknown). In June 1917, when William was just an infant, the family moved to 153 Maple Terrace in Merchantville, New Jersey, where they resided with William’s paternal grandfather, also named William H. Deitz. At that time, Frank Deitz worked as a cab driver for the Black & White Taxi Company in Philadelphia.
When the 1920 Census was conducted, William’s father, Frank, was not listed in the household, suggesting a possible separation or divorce. William, his mother Caroline, and his two younger siblings, Robert and Marie, were still living in Merchantville. By the time the 1924 Camden City Directory was compiled, Caroline had married George W. Attison, a Camden fireman, and the family had moved to 314 Royden Street in Camden, New Jersey.
In the April 1930 Census, William H. Deitz, his mother Caroline, and stepfather George Attison had moved to 511 Royden Street in Camden. George Attison was still a member of the Camden Fire Department, and William, then 12 years old, was recorded as a student.
Among their neighbors on Royden Street was William Bovell, who lived around the corner on Clinton Street. Tragically, Bovell would later perish in a Japanese prison camp in the Philippines during World War II. Another neighbor, Mary McClyment, resided on Williams Street and frequently made front-page headlines in Camden newspapers during the 1930s due to her involvement in various events and social causes.
William H. Deitz began his career with the Camden Fire Department on May 16, 1937, which coincided with his 21st birthday. He initially served with Ladder Company 1, located at 409 Pine Street in Camden.
On April 8, 1948, William Deitz was promoted to the rank of Captain and assigned to Engine Company 6, located at 337 North Front Street in North Camden. Captain Deitz worked alongside other firefighters, including Captain Harold Megee and Firefighters John “Shorty” Prucella, Mario Fattore, Philip Farrow, Robert Dukes, Harrison Pike, Edwin Callahan, Thomas McParland, Thomas Winstanley, James Stewart, William Reed, and Howell S. Needham.
When the 1947 Camden City Directory was compiled, the Deitz family was residing at 4120 Westfield Avenue.
On February 1, 1956, William H. Deitz was promoted to the position of District Chief, which was equivalent to the modern-day rank of Battalion Chief. Throughout this period, the Deitz family continued to reside in East Camden.
Chief Deitz actively participated in community activities, including the Rosedale Civic Association, the Rosedale Boy’s Club, and the East Camden Marauders, a youth sports organization. He was also a member of Audubon Lodge 318, Free & Accepted Masons.
Sadly, Chief Deitz suffered a fatal heart attack while at the scene of a fire on November 14, 1962, at 33 Terrace Avenue in Camden. At the time of his passing, he resided at 33 South 32nd Street in East Camden. Chief Deitz was buried at Bethel Cemetery in Pennsauken, New Jersey.
He was survived by his wife, Florence M. Deitz; his son, William H. Deitz Jr.; his daughters, Dorothy Deitz and Roberta Deitz; as well as his mother, Caroline Attison, and stepfather, George W. Attison.
William Harry Deitz was a Camden firefighter rising to District Chief. He suffered a fatal heart attack on scene, on November 14, 1962.
Chief William H. Deitz was directing operations at a house fire on Terrace Avenue, when he went outside for fresh air. He collapsed and was rushed to Cooper Hospital.