Capt. Jon Schondelmayer, 44, died in the line of duty last week after falling ill while working with the Swift Creek Fire Department.
Six hundred people attended Schondelmayer's funeral in Cary,
Schondelmayer was a loved figure and a first-rate firefighter by all accounts. He was larger than life in stature in and style, and was described as everyone's friend.
He was a family man with a wife and two young children. Toward the end of the ceremony, his children were given their dad's helmets. He worked at both the Cary and Swift Creek Fire Departments.
A 911 call, literally saying goodbye, went out over the scanners as a fire truck blew its horn out in the parking lot.
It's clear that Schondelmayer will be missed and for good reason.
"He brought a lot of leadership to the Cary Fire Department," said Cary Fire Chief Loren Cone. "He was loved and honored and respected by everybody he worked with. This is a tragic loss for all of us -- the entire community around Cary."
Officials think Schondelmayer died of natural causes. He died within 24 hours of his shift ending so he is considered to have died "in the line of duty."
There is a formal investigation ongoing as to exactly how he died.