Lewis Emmitt Killion, a retired CAL FIRE Battalion Chief, died in San Luis Obispo in the early hours of February 6, 2022. He was born in Atascadero, California, to Lonnie Killion and Ellen Iva (Sutton) on October 15, 1934. He met Amelee Pitcher when they were in high school, and he graduated from Atascadero Unified High School in 1952, where he played football. He married Amelee Pitcher on February 11, 1955, and they were married for almost 68 years. Together they had four children Carol Brown (Michael), Conni (Joe) Valdez of Hanford, CA, Dan (Linda) Killion of Atascadero, CA, and Jim Killion of San Luis Obispo, CA.
After high school, he joined the US Navy in 1952, where he served in the Reserves for eight years. He started working for Southern Pacific Railroad in 1953, where he worked on tunnel maintenance and assisted with changing the Cuesta tunnels from timber to cement. He also worked for PCA, where he delivered feed for local chicken and turkey farms. In 1960, he became a seasonal firefighter, and after taking the engineering exam, he became a Captain at the Paso Robles Airbase in 1963. In early 1974, he was promoted to Battalion Chief and was based in Orange County for four years and returned to San Luis Obispo in the summer of 1978, where he finished his 34-year CAL FIRE career in the San Luis Obispo unit when he retired in 1997.
His favorite hobbies included deer hunting and spending time with his close friends at Deer Camp in Pozo, CA, clam digging and abalone diving, hunting quail pigeons, gardening and working in his yard, and traveling.He also had an affinity for mineralogy and collected rocks which he would use in his gardens and around the house. He was passionate about fire safety; as a CAL FIRE employee, he was actively involved in the San Luis Obispo Range Improvement Association and coordinated the control burns with the local ranchers and CAL FIRE. He was a member of the Native Sons of the Golden West and was also involved in the American Cribbage Congress, where he and Amelee traveled to many tournaments.
He was preceded in death by his daughter Carol, his sisters Jean Carroll, Margie Herreid, Laura Mae Lewis, and Lonnie Haberkern, grandson Jonathan, and great-grandson Michael. He is survived by his wife Amelee, his sister Grace Stinnett, brother Roy Killion, daughter Conni Valdez, and sons Dan Killion and Jim Killion, ten grandchildren, eleven great-grandchildren, and one great-great-grandchild.
Due to Covid, a Celebration of Life will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, you are welcome to send a card with your favorite memory of Lew Killion to the following address:
Amelee Killion and Family, 9095 Via Tortuga, Atascadero, CA 93422.