ERNEST CHRIS HASSELFELD
19 May 1949 – 7 Dec 1983
Chris was born to Ernest Carl Hasselfeld (1921-2001) and Louise (nee McInelly or McNalley 1925-2010) Hasselfeld in Utah – a family of devout Mormons, rich in church history. As a youth, his family lived in Los Angeles, CA., his father serving as a Deputy Wiring Inspector prior to relocating to Las Vegas to start his own electrical business. He had three sisters: Gina Hasselfeld, born July 7, 1959 only survived 4 days; older sister Jeanell Louise Hasselfeld B 1945 and the youngest, Wendy Hasselfeld B 1961. Chris died in Las Vegas, NV and chose to be buried in his family’s ancestral home, St. George City Cemetery in St. George, Utah.
Chris was instilled from an early age with values that were reflected continually in his short life. Above all, he valued his family, his faith and his country. Chris enlisted in the Army 15 Jul 1969 and was honorably discharged on 7 Jul 1971. In his 2 years in the Army, he rose to the rank of SSG, E-6 while assigned to Company K (Ranger), 75th Infantry (Airborne) with the 4th Infantry Division, ultimately serving as a Ranger Team Leader. That meteoric rise in rank is indicative to the type of soldier and leader he was. Chris earned two Purple Hearts during his service in RVN as well as his Combat Infantryman’s Badge and various other awards and decorations.
He married Marilyn (nee Bracken B 6/1/1948) Hasselfeld, daughter of Joseph Hamblin Bracken and Lois (nee Jennings) Bracken on 24 Sep 1971 at the L.D.S. Temple in St. George, UT, shortly after his discharge from the Army. They had a daughter born in 1973 and one son prior to his death. Upon the death of Chris, Marilyn re-married in 1989 to Paul Francis Otis in Las Vegas, becoming Marilyn Hasselfeld-Otis.
His service to his country and others continued after his discharge. Chris became a Firefighter/Paramedic in Las Vegas, NV working for the City EMS in its Flight for Life program. Chris died while serving as a flight medic when the City’s Aérospatiale AS355 TwinStar helicopter collided with Black Mountain, just outside Henderson, Nevada on December 7, 1983. The pilot attempted an auto-rotation after the left engine cowling came apart mid-flight. Chris died, at age 34, along with Pilot Paul Kinsey, and flight nurse Jessica Hilt while responding to a medical emergency. Chris is memorialized with a plaque erected in the Las Vegas Firefighter’s Memorial Park. Chris exemplified the Ranger mentality, continually willing to risk his all in the service of others.
While we knew him by the name Chris, his complete name was one he and his family were very proud of and continue to this day to honor. His Grandfather was Ernest Friedrich Hasselfeld, his father Ernest Carl Hasselfeld, Chris was Ernest Chris Hasselfeld and his grandson who served in the US Navy is named Ernest Creighton Hasselfeld.