Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Darwin Lee Zempel, 67

| July 4, 2024 12:00 AM

Darwin Lee Zempel, 67 passed away June 23, 2024. Darwin was born Sept. 15, 1956, in Kalispell to Dolores and Allen “Bud” Zempel.

During Darwin’s school years he participated in sports, which he excelled in. His true passion was his love for the outdoors, from fishing the rivers and lakes hunting in the woods hunting, or visiting the Bison Range.

His number of careers show a love and knowledge of many things – logging, ranch hand, masonry, construction, wildland fire fighting, working at the family pellet mill, bull riding (even winning a buckle), tree planting, selling Christmas trees, and gold mining. He was a jack of all trades and master of most, which led him to help solve many issues for anyone in need.

While pursuing his passions he met and married Teena Cates in 1979. They started their family shortly after welcoming a daughter, Daisy, in 1979 and a son, Darwin Jr., in 1983.

In conjunction with balancing a family he continued to log, even bringing the family along for a logging job in Seeley one summer. Logging took him all over the Northwest, Alaska included. An eye injury in 1991 didn’t stop his love for the woods and he continued to log for quite a few years with his brother, Allen.

His green thumb was amazing; people would always admire his garden, as well as his knowledge of growing and grafting fruit trees. His peach tree was his pride, which he even spent many a night protecting from the bears.

Family trips always consisted of fishing, camping or hunting, which was his idea of a true vacation. As the family grew and the grandkids came along, they became his new adventure partners.

Darwin’s love of the great outdoors led him to share with his grandchildren (they are also pretty good fishermen and hunters). He was currently passing along his love of the outdoors to his newest sidekick, his great-granddaughter Nora B, sometimes bribing her with M&Ms.

He always loved the coast and had spent many summers taking a trip over to fish on his buddy Frank’s boat, catching salmon and crab, adding new experiences every trip.

Accompanying Darwin throughout the years were his beloved dogs, Sarge, Quack, Roach, Shadow, Chubs and Ty, and Coon the cat.

As time caught up with him, he enjoyed visiting with friends telling stories. If he wasn’t home, you knew you could always find him by the water with a rod in his hand.

He is preceded in death by his grandparents, Ruth and Orville Kemper, his brother, Kenneth, and nephew Bryan Zempel.

He is survived by his parents, Dolores and Allen “Bud” Zempel; his wife, Teena Zempel; daughter Daisy (Paul) Adams and son Darwin Jr. (Annie); grandkids Benton (Megan) Adams and great-granddaughter Nora B, Tristen (Troy) Mitchell, Darwin (Anna) Adams and Charley; and his siblings, Sue (Skip) Palmer, Eileen (Steven) Pesanti, Orlen (Elaina) Zempel, Linnea (Fred) Gariepy, and Allen (Bridget) Zempel.