Retired volunteer chief dead at 70 |

Retired volunteer chief dead at 70

Topaz Ranch Estates longest serving volunteer fire chief was found dead at his home on Tuesday morning.

Chief Frank Riva served as chief of the volunteer fire department from June 1980 until February 2002.

The 70-year-old was an award winning cooperative observer for the National Weather Service.

According to Weather Service Observer Coordinator Scott McGuire, Riva was one of 25 observers to receive the John Campanius Holm Award this year.

“Frank had been notified he was selected to receive the award,” McGuire said. “He passed away before it could be presented to him formally.”

McGuire said Riva was instrumental in taking accurate weather observations during the record flood in January 1997.

According to the citation, he was “instrumental in aiding the National Weather Service in providing timely and accurate river forecast” during the flooding.

Riva served as The Record-Courier’s longest serving weather watcher with his last report received July 27.

“Good morning, this is Frank from Topaz,” he would say before reading off the week’s temperatures. He ended his report as he always did with “Catch you next week.”

Riva began sending temperatures to the newspaper for the Topaz area on June 11, 1987, and was the only weather watcher whose name appeared with the temperatures going back 23 years.

“The weather service was looking for a volunteer and I happened to be available and said yes,” Riva said in a 2001 feature story.