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Veteran, AMR Paramedic Alf Zeilinger Dies at 48

Editor's note: This obituary was originally published on Floral Haven's website and shared by Alf's wife, Stacey Potter Zeilinger.

Birth Date: August 18, 1971

Death Date: November 22, 2019

Alfred “Alf” Gerhard Zeilinger, 48, of Tulsa, Oklahoma passed from this life unexpectedly to be with the Lord on Friday, November 22, 2019.  He was born August 18, 1971 in Victoria, British Columbia to Otfried Georg Zeilinger and Shirley Jean Barefoot.  He met his beloved, Stacey Potter, at Tascosa High School in Amarillo, Texas and married her on November 11, 2000 in Arlington, Texas; they shared almost 32 years together.

Alf was a United States Army Combat Veteran and a tactical paramedic in the Tulsa Metro area.  Most recently, he was honored to hold the title of EMSA Division Chief of Outside Education and Special Operations.

Alf moved to Amarillo, Texas from Canada in 1984 when his mom was recruited to a nursing job.  Shirley fondly remembers Alf wanting to be a soldier from the time he found himself suddenly in the midst of NATO military exercises in Germany at the age of 4.  She recalls that, from that point forward, he shaped his life according to his plan to become a soldier, asking for army men and military toys for Christmas and birthdays, later opting for activities like Boy Scouts and ROTC.  He could not wait to make it official and so his mom agreed to sign a waiver to allow him into the Army just after high school graduation and prior to his 18th birthday.

Alf Served in the 101st Airborne Division out of Ft Campbell, Kentucky, deployed to Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm, 1990-1991. The 101st Airborne were among the first soldiers deployed to Saudi Arabia after Iraq invaded Kuwait, conducting the largest air assault of the war when they moved 150 miles into Iraq and set up the first U.S forward operating base in the country. Forward operating base Cobra was used to conduct operations on retreating Iraqi armor columns as they attempted to escape from Kuwait.

Alf later transferred to the 82nd Airborne Division at Ft Bragg, North Carolina, where he served during Operation Uphold Democracy, 1994.  While with the 82nd, Alf was a parachute rigger, responsible for packing individual and cargo parachutes for the entire 82nd Airborne Division. Riggers were also responsible for rigging up trucks, tanks, cannons and other equipment for parachute drops.  

Alf’s military medals and commendations are listed in detail below:

United States Army 7/18/89 — 12/21/95  

​11C1P, Indirect Fire Infantryman; 43E1P, Parachute Rigger

ARMY LAPEL BUTTON, ARMY COMMENDATION MEDAL, ARMY ACHIEVEMENT MEDAL (3RD AWARD), ARMY GOOD CONDUCT MEDAL, NATIONAL DEFENSE SERVICE MEDAL, SOUTHWEST ASIA SERVICE MEDAL WITH 1 BRONZE SERVICE STAR (BSS), ARMY SERVICE RIBBON, KUWAIT LIBERATION MEDAL, EXPERT MARKMANSHIP QUALIFICATION BADGE WITH RIFLE BAR, COMBAT INFANTRYMAN BADGE, EXPERT INFANTRYMAN BADGE, PARACHUTIST BADGE, AIR ASSAULT BADGE, DRIVER AND MECHANIC BADGE WITH DRIVER – W BAR, PARACHUTE RIGGER BADGE, FRENCH ARMY PARACHUTIST BADGE.

After an honorable discharge from the Army, Alf moved to Arlington, Texas to be with Stacey and set his sights on new goals.  He became an EMT in 1997 progressing toParamedic shortly thereafter, working in Fort Worth for one of the largest and fast-paced 911 systems in the country.  This started him down the path of what would become his life’s work.  

In 2004, Stacey and Alf transferred to Tulsa, Oklahoma to pursue Stacey’s job opportunity.  Alf joined the 911 system in Tulsa, working first for Paramedics Plus and later AMR, both under the oversight of the Emergency Medical Services Authority (EMSA).  While working full-time, Alf also earned his Associate in Arts from Tulsa Community College in 2006.

Although Alf was proud to be from Canada, he was equally proud to become a U.S. Citizen in June 2009.

Alf has held various positions of leadership in both the Operations and Clinical Divisions at EMSA. In 2005, Alf was selected to serve as a Tactical Paramedic for Tulsa County SO SWAT and has held positions as Tactical Emergency Medical Services (TEMS) Team Leader and TEMS Unit Coordinator.

As the TEMS coordinator, Alf created and implemented all the TEMS Unit SOPs, formalized the TEMS Selection process, created and taught the annual TEMS training, and authored the TEMS specific pre-hospital protocols which are still in use today.

He was CLEET Certified in 2007.  In 2010, he completed the Tactical Combat Casualty Care course, becoming a TCCC Instructor in 2011.  In 2013, Alf received a Meritorious Service Award from Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office for a successful Dive Team recovery operation.

Alf was assigned to the Tulsa Police Department Special Operations Team as a Tactical Paramedic in 2016 and completed his Certified Tactical Paramedic (TP-C) in 2017.  He was selected in 2017 for TCSO’s elite Tactical Tracking & Reconnaissance Unit (TTU) after having previously completed his Tactical Tracking Operations Course in 2015.

Alf performed outreach training and support as the EMS instructor of record for Bixby Fire, Jenks Fire, Jenks PD, Berryhill Fire, and worked closely with Sand Springs Fire, American Airlines, Edmond Fire, Edmond PD, and Deer Creek Fire.

Alf held numerous current and past pre-hospital medicine instructor credentials including Oklahoma State EMS Instructor, EMT-T with LTT, TCCC, ACLS, BLS, AMLS, PEPP, PALS, and PHTLS. Specialty schools Alf has attended include Tactical Rescue Technician, Tactical Medicine for the Operator, Basic SWAT, ROPES I / II, High Risk Search Warrant, Combat Tracking, Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training, Civilian Response to Active Shooter Events, Dive Emergency Specialist, Advanced Hazmat Life Support (AHLS) and CRASH airway.

Alf enjoyed learning as well as teaching and instructing to help others be their best.  He was able to do even more of what he loved through the years via an associate instructorship with Rescue Training International (RTI) and as a partner-owner at Odin Medical.  

Alf possessed a private, quiet faith in God and lived a life of service – service to his wife, to his family, neighbors, friends, work associates, and to all with whom he came in contact.  He was someone you could count on in any situation, a good Samaritan.  

Work associates describe Alf as a professional, an encouraging man of high and exacting standards, seeking excellence in himself and others.  Some have said that every day at work something new and great was going on because of him.  Alf was a measured source of calm in chaos, a mentor and friend to many.

Stacey and Alf are new members at Battlecreek Church in Broken Arrow and prior members at Kirk of the Hills Presbyterian Church in Tulsa; Alf was a Mason and Shriner – Pilgrim Rock Lodge No 522; and he served as President of the couple’s neighborhood association.

Alf was a man of many talents – he loved being a unique individual and challenging himself with sport-hobbies such as CrossFit, GoRuck endurance events, hiking/trail running, scuba diving, snowboarding, and ice hockey.  He loved the mountains and the beach equally.  He was also a huge Star Wars fan.

Alf is survived by his loving wife, Stacey Potter Zeilinger;his mother, Shirley Sherrod and her husband Danny of Fort Worth, Texas; his father, Fred Zeilinger and his wife Monika of Point Roberts, Washington; one brother, Jamie Zeilinger and his fiancée, Natalya of Round Rock, Texas; maternal grandmother, Florence Barefoot of Edmonton, Alberta Canada; father-in-law, Les Potter of Hartsel, Colorado; mother-in-law Bertha Potter of Amarillo, TX; brother-in-law, David Potter and his wife Kirsten of Fort Collins, Colorado and their daughter, Ashley; two nephews, Zach and Blake Zeilinger; one niece, Brooke Zeilinger and her partner Makayla Hernandez; extended family and countless friends.  He was preceded in death by his maternal grandfather, Jim Barefoot; paternal grandparents, Oma and Opa Zeilinger; and Stacey and Alf’s three cherished schnauzers, Louie, Toby and Buddy.

A Celebration of Life Memorial Service will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, December 11, 2019 at South Tulsa Baptist Church, 10310 South Sheridan, Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Honorary memorials may be made to:  www.Foldsofhonor.orgwww.rescuednready.comshrinershospitalsforchildren.orgsuaspontefoundation.org, or the donor’s charity of choice.

Stacey wishes to extend her deepest gratitude to Chaplain Danny Stockstill, Sara Love, Mike and Janna Geiger, Beth and Scott Gleason, Duffy McAnallen, Deangelo Reyes, Camilo Sanchez, Sean Love, Chris Dent, Kat Ericsson, Con Ericsson, and Tony First, as well as the many diligent first responders who cared for and honored Alf at the intersection where this life meets the next.

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