Hundreds of family members, friends and co-workers gathered at First Baptist Church in Lewisville Monday afternoon for the funeral service of Denton County Fire Marshal Roland Asebedo, who died last week of complications from COVID-19.
Born in 1965 in Lockney, Asebedo graduated from Silverton High School in 1983. He would go on to spend over 30 years in emergency services, earning certifications for firefighter master, arson investigator master and inspector master from the Texas Commission on Fire Protection.
Asebedo worked in several emergency service capacities and with several different agencies, including in Plainview, Highland Village, Coppell and, starting in 2004, Denton County. He was first hired as an emergency management intern before being promoted to emergency management planner. Since 2005, he’d been the county’s assistant director of emergency services before being promoted last October to fire marshal and director of development and emergency services.
Asebedo, 56, was highly regarded by his county co-workers for his work ethic and positive demeanor. At last week’s Commissioners Court meeting, after his death was announced, Denton County Public Health Director Matt Richardson recalled one of his attempts to beat Asebedo to an early-morning vaccination clinic — which ended in failure despite setting his alarm for 3:55 a.m.
County Judge Andy Eads, speaking Monday at Asebedo’s funeral, had many of his own stories to share. Whether it was his response to a loose elephant at a circus or a co-worker who needed to get in the office after midnight, each story had something in common.
“Roland Asebedo is a man like no other — a man with humility, yet a sense of higher purpose to protect and care for others,” Eads said. “A man who always put everyone first before himself, any time, anywhere.”
Able Asebedo, Roland’s brother, said they talked every day, whether for a minute or for 20. He said he remembers Roland as “the best brother in the world,” — as well as for his public service and the way he always treated others with respect, regardless of their status.
“He loved helping people and there were one or two instances in Silverton when we had some bad fires, and it bothered him, but it didn’t keep him from going on,” Able Asebedo said in a phone interview. “It didn’t matter what promotion he got, he could see the lowest person on the street and he would visit with them.”
Able had a lesson, too, that people should take from Roland’s life and career.
“Whatever field you’re in, just push it as much as you can and try to do the best you can,” Able Asebedo said. “And don’t forget the people that are your friends. Treat them right.”
Roland Asebedo is survived by his wife, Michele “Mickey” Asebedo of Sanger; daughter, Lorrin Asebedo of Denton; son, Jordan Asebedo of The Colony; mother, Mary Asebedo of Silverton; brother, Able Asebedo of Silverton; sister, Marilyn Leal of Pottsboro, and several aunts, uncles, nephews, nieces and cousins. He was preceded in death by his father, Johnny Asebedo, and sister, Venita Howell.