Life Tribute – Gary Duane Zahniser

Gary Duane Zahniser

       Gary Duane Zahniser, 65, was taken from us in a tragic car accident in Oregon on Oct. 2, 2020. He was born Sept. 13, 1955, in Los Angeles, California to Earl Duane and Dedra Jean Zahniser (both deceased). He was the only boy and the baby of the family with two older sisters, Terri and Vickie.

He attended Madison High School in San Diego, California, and graduated in 1973. Gary then continued his education and received an AA degree in science forestry, an EMT License and his AA degree in nursing at Lassen Community College in 1977.

He fell in love with the medical field and in 1982 he graduated from Palomar College’s nursing program.

From 1976 to present Gary was still working, saving lives and helping people in the medical field. He started at Mountain EMS as an EMT (1976-1980), was an EKG technician and RN for Palomar Hospital from (1980-1982). He returned to Susanville and worked as a RN for Mountain EMS-Ground Ambulance (1982-1993) and Banner Lassen Hospital (1982-2015). While working at the hospital Gary finished his training to become a flight nurse, which became his passion. He worked as a flight nurse for more than 15 years with Mountain LifeFlight, with his last 12 years being a chief flight nurse (1993-2009). He went on to teach nursing, physiology and anatomy classes at Lassen Community College in 2010. Gary was recently employed as a respiration nurse for Owens Healthcare.

On March 21, 2002, while working as a flight nurse at Mountain LifeFlight, Gary was the sole survivor of a tragic helicopter crash in Honey Lake, California. Gary did not hesitate to return to his flight nurse duties after he was fully healed from the injuries he sustained.

He was married in 1978 for 34 years to his former wife Janette (Sherman) Zahniser. They had two sons Timothy (1980) and Evan (1983). Although they divorced, they remained friends and in each other’s lives.

Later on, Gary met Lori Badeaker (fiancé) and her two sons Jay and David. Gary introduced them to his crazy, fearless, fast-paced “Zahniser” way of life and family.

He was truly never afraid to try anything. With that said he was an avid outdoors man and loved many sports and hobbies which included hunting, fishing, mountain biking, hiking, rock climbing, golfing, riding motorcycles, wood working and so much more. He always had a project in the works from remodeling a house to building new furniture and finding time to sneak away to his newly found love for deep sea fishing in Oregon. He was truly one of a kind, with an amazing sense of humor and will be forever missed!

Gary is survived by his sisters Terri Rehmeier and Vickie Meyers (Mark); sons Timothy Zahniser (Collette) and Evan Zahniser (Alma); six grandchildren; Lori Badeker (fiancé); Janette Zahniser (former wife); and several nieces, nephews and cousins.

A celebration of life will be held at 3 p.m. Friday, Nov. 6, 2020 at the Sentimental Journey Ranch, located at 465-320 Church Street, Janesville, California. Please come celebrate his amazing life and share your favorite “Gary story.”