David George Sylvaria, 73, of Bristol, RI passed away peacefully at his home Friday February 17, 2023. He was a devoted and loving husband, father, grandfather, and friend.
He was the son of the late Harold Sylvaria and Eleanor (MacDonald) Kelly. Born is Stamford, CT and raised in Warren, RI, he was a graduate of Warren High School in 1967.
David was a 50-year member of the Bristol Fire Department, joining the Ever-Ready Engine & Hose Company in 1972. He rose quickly through the ranks serving as a lieutenant, captain, and assistant Chief. He was appointed as Fire Chief in 1984 and would serve in that capacity for the next 20 years. Under his leadership the Bristol Fire Department was transformed into one of the finest volunteer fire departments in not only Rhode Island, but in all of New England. Always a forward thinker and innovator, he was instrumental in developing the town’s emergency services and was the driving force behind resurrecting the RI Fire Academy. Throughout his career he always worked tirelessly to ensure that not only “his guys” were taken care of, but that all firefighters and emergency personnel across the state and region had the resources and training they needed to do their jobs and save lives. In addition to serving as Chief of the Bristol Fire Department, David also served as President of both the Rhode Island Fire Chief’s Association, the New England Fire Chief’s Association, and was a board member of the National Fire Academy. His career achievements and commendations are too numerous to mention; however, to him his proudest accomplishment was serving as a mentor, father figure, and friend to the countless men and women who served alongside him.
While his devotion to the fire service was a large part of his life, David led a full life outside of his public duties. He always took the time to attend his children’s sporting events, school plays, and shared in all of their special moments. David was very proud of his children, and in particular his grandchildren who since their birth filled his life with so much happiness and joy.
An amazing man, David will always be loved and remembered by all those whose lives he touched.
He is survived by his wife Vicky. Children: Kristen, David, and Jared. His Daughter-in-law Chelsea. The mother of his children Mary Jean. Sisters: Darien, Dawn, and Missy. Grandchildren: Sam, Riley, Gavin, Grayson, and Griffin. Stepsons: Keith and Christopher.
Visiting Hours will be held on Saturday, March 4, 2023 from 12:00-4:00 PM at Sansone Funeral Home, 192 Wood Street, Bristol. In lieu of flowers, donations in his name can be made to the Bristol Fire Department Benevolent Association.
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