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James Chulla, 88, Ex-Sleepy Hollow Fire Engineer

SLEEPY HOLLOW, N.Y. – James L. Chulla, a retired Sleepy Hollow firefighter and former chief fire engineer, died Aug. 12. He was 88.

Chulla was a 50-year member of Rescue Hose Co. No. 1 of the North Tarrytown Fire Department.

He was born May 30, 1924, in Rholapp, Utah, to Samuel and Dorothy Chulla, and his family moved to North Tarrytown when he was four. Chulla attended North Tarrytown elementary and high schools, graduating in 1942.

He enlisted in the Navy and was in combat duty in the South Pacific. Chulla was honorably discharged in January of 1946 as a machinist mate first class. He received two Bronze Stars, a Victory Medal and the Good Conduct Medal.

Chulla worked for Mallory Battery Plant in North Tarrytown for 16 years. He later worked two years with the U.S. Postal Service and retired from General Motors in 1986, after 23 years. On Nov. 16, 1946, he married Katherine Blascik in Holy Cross Church.

In 1949, he joined the North Tarrytown Fire Department. He served as chief engineer in 1964 and led the department to two New York Daily News Awards for rescuing eight people in two fires.

Chulla was a member of the Westchester and Hudson Valley Volunteer Firemen's Associations and the New York State Fire Chief's Association. In 1999, he was honored for 50 years of service with the department.

He had a love for amateur art painting and was a founding member of the North Tarrytown Dad’s Baseball Club. He was a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1939.

Chulla is survived by three children, James Jr., MaryJean and Richard (Cathy); seven grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. He is also survived by a sister-in-law, MaryAnn Blascik; a niece, Kathleen Chulla; and several nieces and nephews.

His wife died on May 20, 1998. Three siblings, Louis Chulla, Josephine Urso and Ann Wilson; and a grandson, Scott Scudieri, also predeceased him.

Visitation will be from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m., Thursday, at Coffey Funeral Home in Tarrytown. A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m., Friday, at Church of the Magdalene. Burial will follow at Sleepy Hollow Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Sleepy Hollow Fire Department.

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