John Stephen Zinselmeir, 70, of McKinleyville, passed away on August 4, 2018 at his home in Mad River.

The Rosary will be at 12:30 p.m., September 8th, at Christ the King Catholic Church in McKinleyville. Service will follow at 1 p.m. Brunch to follow.

John was born in Fortuna to Mary and Paul Zinselmeir on September 12, 1947. He graduated from Humboldt State University in 1967 and got his teaching degree in June of 1968. He married Mary Massei on September 14, 1968 in Sacred Heart Church in Eureka. He and Mary taught in Alaska for two years, where he also coached. He then worked as a teacher and coach for the Southern Trinity School District. He coached, continuously for 30 years spanning a variety of sports: football, basketball, cross country and track. He was a member of Six Rivers Running Club for over four decades, where he served many years as a board member. He received a Hall of Famer award three years ago, an award given to SRRC members who have achieved lifetime excellence in running. In the 49 years of SRRCs existence, there have only been 22 men and women who have achieved this award. He also was a volunteer coach at McKinleyville High for cross country and track for the last 10 years and he volunteered time at Christ the King Catholic Church in McKinleyville.

John was a legend in many ways. He devoted much time to his family, children and grandchildren, to his running club (SRRC) and to the high school district he lived in. Many looked up to John and strived to have his tenacious, relentless and focused determination and drive that he possessed with his running. He was also friendly and encouraging to the adults and students he came in contact with. He had a “never quit” and always “push forward” attitude right to the end. John touched the hearts of many people throughout his life. He will be remembered as a legend to many and an ambassador for running.

John is preceded in death by his father, Paul August Zinselmeir.

John is survived by his wife, Mary, sons Byron and Vincent, daughters-in-law Kathleen and Fatima, sister Paula Williamson, mother Mary Zinselmeir and sister-in-law Georgia Riedel and her husband Fritz, and grandchildren Duncan, Jasmine, Andrew, Anthony, Bailey, Kelsey and Shelby. He is also survived by an aunt and several cousins and nephews.

The family asks that in lieu of flowers that any memorial donations be sent to the John Zinselmeir (Zinzy) McKinleyville Cross Country Scholarship Fund. The fund is set up at Coast Central. Send donations to:

Six Rivers Running Club (SRRC)
c/o John Zinselmeir (Zinzy) Scholarship Fund
P.O. Box 214
Arcata, CA 95518

John’s family wish to extend their sincere thanks to doctors Phillip Olkin of Fortuna, Hala Borno at UCSF, Robin Zagone of Eureka and the Medical Emergency Team STAR (Southern Trinity Area Rescue).


The obituary above was submitted on behalf of John Zinselmeir’s family. The Lost Coast Outpost runs obituaries of Humboldt County residents at no charge. See guidelines here.