First Responders 13

Thomas Alexander Gaines

November 20, 1958 ~ June 12, 2020 (age 61)


Thomas “Tag” Gaines, 61, passed away unexpectedly June 12, 2020. Tag was born in Encino, California and grew up in Long Beach, California. He was the youngest son of Arthur and Josephine Gaines.

Tag was a motorhead since high school and loved hot rodding every engine he could find – everything from street racers, cars and trucks to tractors. He loved working with his hands and was very skilled, as evidenced by the many trades he had. He was a certified welder, journeyman electrician, journeyman diesel mechanic, heavy equipment operator, licensed water distribution operator and class A truck driver to name a few of his many talents. 

These skills served him well throughout his 30 years in the fire service. He loved being a firefighter and often remarked how he missed it and opportunity it gave him to help others. He started as a volunteer with Riverside County then moved to San Diego County where at Julian Cuyamaca Fire District and Intermountain Fire he worked as an EMT, Fire Apparatus Engineer, and Fire Captain.  He worked at the Ramona Air Attack Base as an Aviation Ground Support Specialist and Fire Retardant Mix Master. His inventive mind and mechanical knowledge, along with his love of the fire service, led him to develop of safer and more modern firefighting apparatus and equipment. His innovative delivery system for fire retardant chemicals had him working with the Australian government. 

When he wasn’t firefighting he pursued his love of agronomy and soil science, becoming a rancher and cattleman in Murrieta, California. After retiring from firefighting, his love of agronomy led him to become a dealer for Alforex Seed, a top supplier of alfalfa and forage crops that help farmers reach higher yields and better nutrition for each crop planted. He also became a dealer for Vermeer Farm Equipment, a global manufacturer of industrial and agricultural machines such as hay balers, wheel rakes and forage equipment.

Tag was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints through which he met his wife, Dorothy “Dottie” Gaines of Ramona, California. They were married on Sept 7, 2018. He is survived by his wife Dottie, two older sisters Joan and Claudia, an older brother Arthur and many nieces and nephews.

Everyone was Tag’s friend and he loved meeting new people. He will be missed by all who knew and loved him.

Bonham Bros & Stewart Mortuary and Cremation Service is assisting the family.


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