Oct. 1, 1977—Sept. 19, 2019
Mickel William Zainfeld passed away on Sept. 19, 2019. Mickel was born in Landstuhl, Germany, on Oct. 1, 1977, and lived there with his family until they moved to Kelso, WA, in 1979. Mickel spent the rest of his childhood living in Kelso where he attended Beacon Hill Elementary School, Huntington Middle School and graduated from Kelso High School in 1996.
During his teenage years, Mickel volunteered as a Washington State Patrol Explorer, and joined Cowlitz 2 Fire & Rescue as a fire cadet in September, 1994. He was a member of the first ever Fire Science Program and was honored as the first Firefighter of the Year through the program. Following the completion of his paramedic training at Tacoma Community College, Mickel was officially hired as a Firefighter & Paramedic with Cowlitz 2 in 2000. During his time in service with Cowlitz 2, Mickel rose up the ranks, earning promotions to Lieutenant, Captain and finally, Battalion Chief in January, 2018. Mickel’s duty to serve others extended far beyond his own hometown, as he took part in multiple hazard deployments throughout the western United States over his years with the fire department. Mickel proudly and honorably served his community, and other communities facing danger, for a total of 25 years in various roles with Cowlitz 2. He was beloved by his colleagues, and he considered each of them to be members of his extended family, which he lovingly referred to as his “fire family.”
On March 18, 2000, Mickel married Kelly Gehrke, his high school sweetheart. In 2001 they welcomed their first child, Braden Mickel Zainfeld into the world, and he was soon followed by their second child, Evan Ross Zainfeld, in 2003. Eventually, Mickel and Kelly moved their family to Castle Rock, where they lived close to many of their friends.
Mickel enjoyed vacationing with his family, friends and colleagues, reading history novels, hanging out with his German Shepard, Max, and spending time outdoors. Over the years, he volunteered his free time to many community-based efforts, including the Kelso Police Department as a Reserve Officer, Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, at Camp Attitude, as a baseball coach for Kelso Babe Ruth, and in his wife’s classroom in the Toledo School District, where he helped build items for the classroom and assisted in doing projects. Mickel was a passionate, and active member of the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF #3828) and was a member of the Longview Community Church. He was also a lifelong Seahawks fan, and took great pride in the fact that he rooted for the team even before Russell Wilson came along. Above all, Mickel valued and appreciated family, and loved spending time with each and every one of his family members.
Mickel held many roles during his 41 years on this earth, and he was a very proud man who was committed to being the best he could at each of them: father, husband, son, brother, friend, firefighter, paramedic and leader, among others. Mickel’s commitment and caring attitude allowed him to touch many of our lives in ways that will never be forgotten, and for that we are all blessed.
Mickel is survived by his children, Braden and Evan, and his wife, Kelly, of Castle Rock, WA; parents, Tami and Ed Zainfeld, of Longview, WA; brother, Mathew Zainfeld (Meggan Zainfeld), of Toutle, WA; sisters, Monica Lariviere (Eric Lariviere), of Longview, WA and Melonie Huff (Jason Huff), of Longview, WA; his mother- and father-in-law, Margaret and Steven Gehrke, of Tumwater, WA; sister-in-law, Brandy Davidson (Michael Davidson), of Vancouver, WA; nephews, Alex Alden, of Longview, WA, Andrew Kiggins, (Rosa Kiggins),of Kelso, WA, Brice Kiggins, of Longview, WA, Sawyer Zainfeld, of Toutle, WA; nieces, Mattison Kiggins (Payton Miller), of Longview, WA, Karlee Lariviere, of Longview, WA, Josie Huff, of Longview, WA, Ellie and Josie Davidson, of Vancouver, WA, Lauren Zainfeld, of Toutle, WA; great-niece, Kollyns Miller, of Longview; great-nephews, John Alden, of Longview, Kashton Miller, of Longview; and too many special friends and members of his extended family to mention.
A memorial service to honor Mickel will be held at the New Life Fellowship Church, located at 2441 42nd Ave, Longview, WA, 98632, on October 1, at 1 p.m. Anyone who wants to help the Zainfeld family may make a donation at US Bank under the Battalion Chief Zainfeld Memorial account. Additional detail is available by calling Cowlitz 2 Fire & Rescue at 360-578-5218, visiting their website at www.c2fr.org, or on their Facebook page.