Retired Chapel Hill Fire Marshal and Deputy Fire Chief Joe Robertson has died, at his home in Mebane.

He was 68 years old.

Chapel Hill Fire Department Chief Dan Jones told WCHL that Robertson had been battling a lot of health issues for a long time.

Robertson retired from the Chapel Hill Fire Department in 1997 after 32 years of service.

“He rose through the ranks and became Fire Marshal,” says Jones. “He actually served as interim fire chief for a period of time in 1989.”

Robertson also served as a reserve police officer for the Town of Chapel Hill.

After leaving the Chapel Hill Fire Department, Robertson went on to serve as Fire Chief for Florence, South Carolina.

Robertson was a longtime resident of Carrboro before moving to Florence. He and his wife Frankie had a place in Myrtle Beach where they spent some time in retirement.

Jones says that Robertson’s health problems eventually made it necessary to move to Mebane, to be closer to children and grandchildren.

The Chief describes Robertson as a “super person” and a “straightforward guy” who was a physical fitness buff. And he praised Robertson’s contributions to the department.

“He helped introduce modern fire investigation techniques here in the Chapel Hill Fire Department,” says Jones. “He also did a lot to build a working relationship between the Fire Department and businesses across town as it relates to code enforcement and safety, and loss prevention.”

Jones says that Robertson worked actively with UNC to promote fire safety in student housing.

Funeral arrangements for Joe Robertson are pending.