James E. Decker, Sr.

October 10, 2018 Avondale, PA "Jim"

James “Jim” Decker Sr., age 71, of Avondale, PA, died Wednesday, October 10, 2018 surrounded by his family.  He was the husband of Shirley Decker, with whom he spent 33 loving years.

Born in 1947 in West Grove, PA, he was the son of the late Warren Decker and Elva Schreiber. Jim graduated from Avon Grove High School in 1965 and soon after was drafted into the Army. While serving his country in the Vietnam War, he earned the Bronze Star for heroic actions and the Purple Heart. For several years after his discharge from the Army, Jim was employed as an auto and diesel mechanic. He then worked for Pennsbury Township on the road crew until his retirement.

Undoubtedly, Jim’s biggest passion, besides his family, was volunteering with the Avondale Fire Company, which he joined in 1965. During Jim’s 53 years with the company, he held numerous leadership positions in both the Executive and Fire Control divisions, including Assistant Chief and Chief for 16 years collectively. Jim was also instrumental in the creation of the Board of Directors for the company. His two sons, Jimmy and Mike, followed in their father’s footsteps, joining the fire company at early ages. Jim’s proudest moments were volunteering alongside them. Often, all three Decker’s were seen riding the first firetruck out of the station together. Jim is also a life member of the West Grove Fire Company, Hockessin Fire Company, and Chester County Fire Chiefs Association.

Jim is survived by his wife, Shirley; his two sons, James Decker, Jr. and wife Pam of Avondale, Michael Decker and wife Beth of Landenberg; and five grandchildren CJ, Sarah, and Jake Decker, and Joey and Andrew Decker. Jim also had seven step-children, MaryAnn Peters and husband Danny, Gus Brittingham and wife Pam, Michael Brittingham and wife Sheila, Jeffrey Brittingham and wife Diane, Patti Schrack and husband Albert, Debbie Chamberlain and husband Claude, and Andrew Brittingham and wife Brenda; as well as numerous step-grandchildren and step-great grandchildren. Jim is also survived by one sister, Linda Springer. He was predeceased by one sister, Roberta Savage.

A Memorial Service will be held at the Avondale Fire Company, Station 23, 23 Firehouse Way, Avondale, PA 19311 on Saturday, October 20, 2018 at 1:00 PM.

In lieu of flowers, donations in Jim’s memory can be made to the Avondale Fire Company, 23 Firehouse Way, Avondale, PA 19311.

Message from the Family

Thank you for your support during this difficult time. Please share with us your fond memories of Jim.

Memorial Donations

Avondale Fire Company

Donations in Jim's honor may be mailed to:

Avondale Fire Company
23 Firehouse Way
Avondale, PA 19311


Memorial Service

October 20, 2018 1:00PM Avondale Fire Company, Station 23
23 Firehouse Way
Avondale, PA 19311


  1. May your hearts be filled with memories of your loved one during this time. (Revelation 21:3,4)

    Chelsea Johnson | October 27, 2018 at 9:14 AM
  2. Pop, Gus & I enjoyed hearing the stories from the firehouse days, the trips you & mom took, especially with Patti & Joey Testa. We will miss getting you Fishers Carmel popcorn that you loved, your sense of humor & holiday dinners. Thank you for loving mom for over 30 years and always being there for all of us. Keep a watch over all of us. Rest in peace Pop.

    Gus & Pam Brittingham | October 20, 2018 at 9:36 PM
  3. Dear Shirley, Jimmy and Michael. We were so sorry to hear about Jimmy’s passing. I have so many fond memories of him from the old days at ACA and how he played Santa Claus at Christmas on the Fire Truck. We had a lot of laughs sitting around my Mothers kitchen table many a Saturday morning. But I mostly remember the love between you, Shirley, and him. We will keep you in our prayers.
    Love, Cindi and Andy Ciuffetelli

    Cindi Ciuffetelli | October 18, 2018 at 3:21 PM
  4. Grandpa Jim,

    I remember hanging out at the Avondale Fire Company as a kid & loving the firetruck because of you. You are a great man who loved my Grandmother dearly. Thank you for serving our country not only in the Vietnam War but also as the Chief at the firehouse. You are loved & will be greatly missed.

    Love always your step-granddaughter

    Jennifer Reyes | October 16, 2018 at 9:31 PM
  5. Sorry forgot to mention all the breakfast’s! He loved Jeff’s fried potatoes on the holidays. We’ll miss you calling and asking us to Hockessin, Perkins, or Elsmere with Uncle Bobby and Richie. Good times in the mornings!!

    Jeff, Diane, Lauren and David Brittingham | October 16, 2018 at 7:22 PM
  6. As Jim’s helmet came down off the fireplace the lamppost came on. Jeff tried to fix it last year. Thank you for lighting it to help guide us the rest of the way. Thank you for all your years of service. We are grateful to have had many years with you and all of our families. We will miss our dinners. We will miss your stories, but we will hold close all those memories. We’ll miss you.

    Jeff, Diane, Lauren and David Brittingham | October 16, 2018 at 7:12 PM
  7. Gus and Pam,
    Sorry for your loss.

    Joni Hoffman | October 15, 2018 at 4:44 PM
  8. To Shirley, Gus, Jeff and All of Jim’s Family,
    My sincere condolences to all of you on the passing of Jim. May he rest in peace. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him.
    Margaret Pennington

    Margaret Pennington | October 15, 2018 at 1:11 PM
  9. Dear Shirley, Jimmy, Michael and all the Family, My sincerest sympathy to all for your great loss. Jimmy`s passing is a loss for the whole community. He did so much for all of us from his service for our country to help keep us safe, to his everyday service at the fire company to continue to keep us safe. Shirley and Jimmy were a big part of my life for many years. I pray that you all will find comfort remembering
    the happy memories we have of him. My Love to You, Patsy

    Patsy Vanderkraats | October 15, 2018 at 11:30 AM
  10. So sorry for your loss. Our prayers and thoughts to all the family.
    Julie(Madonna), Charles Standifer

    Julie Madonna and Charles Standifer | October 15, 2018 at 10:01 AM
  11. The very best and God bless all the family. Rest in yhe arms of our Lord chief.

    Harry Wilkinson | October 14, 2018 at 7:23 PM
  12. Jim …. I know Michael would call and say is this my daddy ?? And you would say Shirley Michaels is on the phone … I also remember on the deck of debbies you saying Shirley it’s 5 o clock somewhere.. as you where drinking a cold one…. you were a great father in law ….you loved all of us …and thank you ..,

    Sheila Brittingham | October 13, 2018 at 5:50 AM
  13. Who’s your daddy …, Jim Decker was my new daddy … and he goes oh Christ there goes the neighborhood….,a lot of memories to trips in Wyoming…,,always good times …. I love the way jim treated my mom he was the “man” and I thank him for that …. I’m going to miss you a lot …. I will see you soon we will meet again …, love your step son Michael

    Michael Brittingham | October 13, 2018 at 5:43 AM
  14. Thoughts and prayers to the family. RIP Chief You will be missed

    Michael Ruoss | October 13, 2018 at 1:17 AM
  15. My fondest memory of Uncle Jimmy was carrying a piece of birthday cake from our apartment, over to his! I always thought it was so neat we shared the same birthday! I’ll never forget the fun we all had, hanging out at the fire house, breakfasts, Christmas parties, Fire Company Banquets, Perkins….there was never a dull moment with Jimmy and Shirley! I’m so happy their life long friendship with my parents brought them out to Montana for a visit! We enjoyed that time with them!! Jimmy and Mikey, your dad was always so proud of you!! My heart breaks for all of you at this time. I wish I could be there to give everyone a big Montana hug! Please know your families are in our thoughts and prayers. He lives on in each of you. I will never forget him. Until we meet again, Uncle Jimmy, love you!

    Kristian and James Testa-Denny | October 12, 2018 at 9:48 PM
  16. Jim was kind of heart, but set in his ways. We are grateful for the fun life he gave Shirley our mother. He will be missed as my sparing partner. Until we meet again Mr. Jim, Until we meet again!

    MaryAnn Peters | October 12, 2018 at 5:58 PM
  17. Thoughts and prayers to the family. Always knew when Jim was driving the first engine as he would be on the radio establishing CP. One particular incident was “Cocobean CP”! That was Jim…..
    RIP my friend; until we meet again!

    Tom Glass | October 12, 2018 at 5:54 PM

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