Mar Vista resident Thomas Ponton III, a retired Santa Monica fire captain and U.S. Navy veteran who served at Pearl Harbor during World War II, has died. He was 88.

Ponton, who battled emphysema for 30 years, died of lung cancer Saturday, Aug. 28, his family said.

Ponton served Santa Monica as a career firefighter and captain for 30 years. He was well known in the fire department as the older half of the “Ponton Brothers,” his family said. His younger brother, Andy Ponton, who served as a captain until he retired in 1983, passed away in 1990.

Older Santa Monica Fire Department firefighters recalled numerous playful stories involving the Ponton brothers, including a high pressure water fight.

Thomas Ponton’s retirement years were spent caring for his wife, Florence, and helping friends, family and the community when and wherever he was needed.

Ponton and his wife, both born in Santa Monica, have lived in Mar Vista most of their lives, having purchased one of the first tract homes built in the area after World War ll.

Ponton is survived by his wife Florence, his two sons Tom and Greg, and four grandchildren.

A funeral service was held in Santa Monica Wednesday, Sept. 1.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to a charity of choice or the Santa Monica Firefighters Relief Fund, Skirball Hospice or Meals on Wheels.

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