Dennis Bible, 65, director of Public Works is finally retiring after almost a 42-year career as a public servant in Ladue. A severe on the job fire fighting injury cut his duties short, and the Mayor Edith Spink brought him back as the Director of Public Works. Bible will retire on September 28, and will be in a bass fishing tournament the next day. Here's a one on one interview with the retiring director.
Ladue-Frontenac Patch: You are retiring after how many years in Ladue.
Dennis Bible: I started in 1970 with the fire department. From there, I ended up as a fire captain and was injured in the line of duty in April, 1982. I stayed on because I was a captain. It was a natural gas explosion at a home off Spoede Road in Frontenac. It turned out to be an arson fire. Four of fire fighters were injured and I was hurt the worst.
I had neck injuries. I had gone through three different back surgeries. I had burns on 19 percent of my body. I had surgery on both knees and I was in good shape, age 37 when this happened. I started with the fire department when I was age 24, right out of Viet Nam with the Marines.
When they opened the first fire training academy (in Wellston), it was named in my honor. That was pretty touching.
When they retired me in 1987, I had gone back to school, I was just six hours short of my fire science degree. I thought, no sense in pursuing this. I wanted to do something else so I got a safety degree in December of 1989.
Mayor Eddy Spink, God love her, she was a great mayor for the city and she brought me back as Public Works Director and I’ve been here since December of 1989. I will be 66 in December. If I had continued service with the city, I’d have almost 42 years.
When I got hurt, I was out on a pension and I was going to school.
Patch: You still seem to be in very good physical shape.
Bible: I am. I attribute that to a lot of things. Much of that has to being a Marine and I stay very active. I work with the Viet Nam veterans. I am the commandant of the Marine Corp League in Arnold and that keeps me busy. I help out with wounded warrior programs. I am involved with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society bass tournament which is coming up in September.
I am involved with my church (Immaculate Conception of Arnold) I’ve got a really great marriage. I’ve been married to Jennifer for over 45 years. We have two boys, and one grandson. One of my sons is a police officer in Overland.
Patch: I understand a ball field is named in your honor at your parish field.
Bible: After 25 years of working with the CYC program, the pastor and the associate pastor decided when I was going to retire, they would name the field after me and I was flabbergasted they did that.
Patch: You must have developed some great relationships in this community.
Bible: Yes, there are great people here. I remember when Bill Schnarr was running the hardware store. Now its Frank Blair and his father was a fireman here in Ladue and was our chief at one time. I have a lot of ties with people here.
I’ve felt my job is much more than roads and bridges. I try and help residents out wherever I can. I would tell people who to turn to if they had plumbing or electrical problems. In return, I hoped these companies would not disappointment me.
The beginning of the compost site was done under my supervision.
This is a very citizen-oriented community. I felt very gifted and blessed to do my small part for the people of Ladue.
Patch: What is the wildest thing to happen to you during your career.
Bible: It had to be the flood of 1993 and Hurricane Ike which went through a few years back. Some homes in Foxboro and Overbook took the brunt of those storms. At one time, I was out in the middle of Clayton and Warson (roads) doing traffic control because the police officers and fire fighters were during rescues in the neighborhoods.