September 20, 2018

Klint Mitchell remembered for fun-loving nature

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MIO — Oscoda County native Klint Mitchell is remembered by friends and family for his fun-loving, outgoing nature.

Klint, a flight nurse, was one of three killed in a medical helicopter crash April 26 in Northern Wisconsin.

While Klint was listed in the news stories that were published around the country as a 30-year-old from Watersmeet, Mich., his heart was very much in the woods around Oscoda County and with his family, many of whom still call Mio home.

“We grew up here, born and raised,” Klint’s sister Jessi Joyce said. “Our grandparents were born here, our parents were raised here.”

According to the Iron Mountain Daily News, the crew aboard the Ascension Health Spirit helicopter was on a return flight after flying a patient to Madison when it crashed only a few minutes from its home base in Woodruff, Wis.

News of Klint’s death gripped the family — especially his mother Kathi — as it came only a few weeks after the fifth anniversary of his father Joe’s death.

“She is a very strong woman, but she’s lost,” said Gin Koslowski, Klint’s eldest sister, about their mother’s battle with the grief.

Almost immediately after the news of Klint’s death, the family began receiving an outpouring of support including a GoFundMe page to help his widowed fiancee Lindsey, 2-year-old son and then unborn daughter. Within only 13 days the page raised more than $43,000 and hundreds of condolences in his honor.

Klint’s sisters said the family also began to hear from people around the community and families who had interacted with Klint as he performed his duties as a nurse.

“Hi there, you don’t know me so I’m sorry if this is odd,” a former patient of Klint’s said in a message to his widow. “I just wanted to say I am so sorry for your loss. I was in the hospital mid-March with premature labor and Klint was there with the team and flew me to Wausau. This was my second baby and it was scary, but he talked me through it all and talked about how excited he was for the new baby you guys were expecting. He stayed with me until my boyfriend made his way down to Wausau and made sure everything was OK.”

The patient went on to say how proud Lindsey should be, what a great person he was and how inspiring she found him.

“... I honest to God thought, ‘I hope (my boyfriend) Jimmy gets this excited and looks like this when he talks about us and our baby,’” she said.

Other messages poured in sharing prayers and sentiments from past patients and current and former coworkers of Klint’s.

“He loved his job,” Jessi said. “That is what he lived for. It was a dream job. He heard about the job when his son was born. (Hospital staff) talked about the flight nursing and they said, ‘We have an opening.’ He applied for it and got it.”

Gin said everyone commented about how they had recently spoke to Klint.

“Everybody that we told or that I called said, ‘I just saw him,’ or ‘I just talked to him,’” she said. “It was hundreds of people. All I could think was, ‘How could he have just talked to them or just saw them?’”

“Klint was just larger than life,” Jessi said. “He walked into the room and he had the type of personality that everyone was excited to see him.”

“You don’t know how many people he knew,” Gin said. “I knew that he knew a lot of people, but I didn’t grasp how many until now.”

But it shouldn’t be a surprise that Klint was loved by everyone who met him. According to Jessi, he was a loving soul.

“Genuine,” she said, describing her brother. “He said what he meant and he meant what he said.”

“He was funny, very caring,” Gin added. “He was the mayor. He would talk to anybody.”

“He never met a stranger,” Jessi finished.

The sisters said Klint was the most outgoing and adventurous of the group, with a love to travel.

“He didn’t let anything stop him,” Gin said. “He would find friends wherever he was. He would have a friend.”

But nothing meant more to Klint than his family, and anytime he could be with his family, he would. His sisters said he once made a 36-hour turnaround trip to be with them on Christmas Eve — which was also his birthday — only to head back to work again when he returned.

Growing up, the girls said Klint was spoiled.

“He was the youngest of five kids with four big sisters,” Jessi said. “So he got lots of attention.”

“We were spread pretty far apart,” Gin said. “He was 16 years younger than me.”

But that age difference didn’t define the closeness of the family, the girls added.

“We talked every day,” Gin said. “It was different. Most people, you think, would grow up and move away. I loved it when we were all five kids together. It was always fun and we were always laughing. We were always supporting each other.”

“One of the things people commented on was how close we were,” Jessi added.

Jessi said Klint recently visited so his son Logan could meet his newest cousin, Jessi’s infant son Gus.

As such a close family, the girls had numerous memories with Klint, but one of Jessi’s favorites shows Klint’s fun-loving nature.

“One of my fondest, he went with me to one of my friends’ weddings,” she said. “And Klint could dance, so people would come up and ask.”

She said Klint went up to the DJ and requested Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” and proceeded to dance a folk-style country two-step type dance.

Beyond family and friends, Klint was an avid outdoorsman and loved his hound dogs and bear hunting. Jessi said he had recently started a Facebook page, Foley Swap Plots, to promote his own bloodline of hound dogs.

“He loved bear hunting and would talk about bear hunting on his Facebook page,” she said. “He was starting a vlog and had about four episodes.”

The loves of Klint’s life was Lindsey, his son Lincoln and his daughter Alexis, who was born on the day of his memorial and two years to the day after her brother Lincoln.

“Lindsey got up out of bed six hours after having that baby and was front row at the memorial,” Jessi said.

Jessi said Lindsey and Klint had a special bond, and it was exciting to watch him grow into a family man.

“She put up with him, she had to have loved him,” Gin said, laughing. “We teased him because he was the baby and a mama's boy. It was funny to see him walking around with a baby and a diaper bag over his shoulder. He would take him everywhere.”

“It was funny to see what a good dad he was,” Jessi said. “He loved kids. He was funny, charismatic. He was great with our kids. It was funny to see him grow up. One time him and Lindsey took all of our kids — five of them and a cousin — up to the UP for a week and took them camping. He was a great uncle and they are devastated.”

Klint leaves behind Lindsey, Lincoln and Alexis; his mother, Kathi; sisters, Niki (Bo) Fisher, Gin (Dan) Kozlowski, Tika (Steve) Cowie and Jessi (Kyle) Joyce; nieces, Paige, Teegan and Aubrey; nephews, Chaz, Zane and Gus; and many cousins and friends whom he treated like family.

He was preceded in death by his grandparents, Frank and Esther (Fountain) Gordert, Everett (Pick) and Lois (Buchanan) Mitchell; and his father, Joe, aka Big Pappy J.

His obituary said Klint lived to the fullest and loved just as hard. The family asks that if you would like to honor Klint, go be fearless. Take the jump, and do something you’ve been scared to do.

“I would like to thank everyone in the community for their support,” Jessi said. “It has been overwhelming. People loved him.”

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