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Chief Clarence L. Cash Jr.

Chief Clarence L. Cash Jr. grew up in the Bridgewater community located in Cordova, Tennessee. During his early years, his parents instilled within him strong values of respect and the importance of hard work. It was during these early years that Chief Cash discovered his passion for cars. At an early age, he professed his belief in Jesus Christ and joined Winrow CME Methodist Church. Here Clarence exhibited a commitment to the church where he faithfully served as a Steward, Trustee Board member, District and Annual Conference Lay Leaders, Chairman of Steward Board, and attended church regularly.

Clarence graduated from Mt. Pisgah High School in Cordova, Tennessee and furthered his education at Lemoyne Owen College. While at Lemoyne Owen College, Clarence was drafted into the United States Army where he served most of his time in the Vietnam War. Upon his return from the army, Clarence attended Shelby State Community College graduating with an Associate degree in Fire Science and Fire Fighting Technology. He knew continued education was a requirement for progression in the ranks of the Firefighter industry. He enrolled in The University of Memphis where he received a bachelor’s degree in Fire Administration.


Clarence began his career with the Fire Department in 1973 and successfully held several positions. He was a Driver, Acting Company Officer, Lieutenant, Battalion Chief, and Division Chief of Administration. Clarence always seized the opportunity for development during his 40-year career. During his tenure, he attended the College of Trainers Program and was selected to instruct Total Quality Management (TQM), Customer Service, and Time Management to all county employees. Clarence was appointed to Fire Chief in September 2004 by Shelby County Mayor A C Wharton Jr. and served until his retirement in 2014. Because of Chief Cash’s work ethic, he made an immediate impression on the department. Embroiled with issues like post 9-11 Homeland Security grants, the relocation of Engine 63 to Memphis Fire Station 55, moving the entire headquarters operation, upgraded the entire fire alarm office, and much more. Chief Cash addressed the need to expand the administrative staff while he provided oversight to the constant demands of budgeting issues and capital purchases. He credited a tireless staff for keeping the Shelby County Fire Department running through a tumultuous time. 


Clarence served 17 years on the State of Tennessee Firefighting Personnel Standards and Education Commission. During the last 10 years, he served as Chairman of the board. In addition, he served on the Collierville, TN/Norfolk, VA/Shelby County TN Hiring and Promotion Assessment Board. Chief Cash has left his mark on the Shelby County Fire Department and was dedicated to a pumper with his name on it. He also coordinated and collaborated with other agencies here in West Tennessee. He will be remembered for many, many years to come due to his many traits and his unwavering devotion to the Fire Service Industry.


Although Chief Cash worked diligently at his profession, he still found time in his busy schedule for community involvement, relaxation, spending time with family, friends, high school classmates, and pursuing his love for cars and sports. Clarence was a member of the Rock of Ages Lodge No. 264 and became a Master Mason. He served on the Universal Achievers Foundation Board providing a pathway for youths in the Auto Body Paint and Collision Industry. Clarence’s love for cars was truly reflected in the various cars he owned during his lifetime. One of his most memorable personal accomplishments was when he restored an antique 1956 GMC truck often winning trophies at car shows. He was a die-hard fan of the San Francisco 49’ers and a proud longtime season ticket holder for The Memphis Grizzlies basketball team and The University of Memphis football team. He was an avid follower of The University of Memphis basketball.

Duty. Honor. Courage.
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