SAN RAFAEL (CBS SF) — Marin County sheriff’s deputy Ryan Zirkle was remembered at a memorial service Friday as an outstanding athlete, born comedian, spontaneous, zany dancer and, with his fiancée Stephanie Falzon, the life of every party and family gathering.
“He lived a totally unscripted life,” his former roommate at California State University, Chico, Colton Hicks said at the gathering in the Veterans Memorial Auditorium in San Rafael.
Ryan loved and knew well the lyrics of rapper Eminem and he unabashedly performed SpongeBob SquarePants impersonations, his elder brother Justin said.
He was a top gymnast in high school who over a three-year period consumed more than 1,000 hot dogs as part of his dinners, his oldest brother Sean recalled.
Novato born and raised, Zirkle, 24, of Petaluma, loved serving the community he knew. He was responding to a hang-up 911 call in the early morning of March 15 when his patrol car collided with a tree off state Highway 1 just north of Point Reyes Station.
When he was not heard from for several minutes his partner left in search of him and discovered the crash. It took 35 minutes to free Ryan from the vehicle, Marin County Sheriff Robert Doyle said.
Zirkle was taken to Petaluma Valley Hospital where he died shortly after arrival.
A caravan of law enforcement officers escorted Zirkle’s body along Highway 101 to the Sonoma County coroner’s office, passing beneath parked and lit-up patrol cars on overpasses, Doyle said Friday morning.
Police, firefighters and fathers with children on their shoulders stood in the rain to witness his return to Marin County, Doyle said.
“Ryan was supposed to be the future of our organization, not the past,” Doyle said.
Marin County Sheriff’s Office Chaplain Sandy Walker said, “His gift was to focus on the great goodness of life.”
Stephanie Falzon’s father Dan Falzon said his future son-in-law was “a people magnet” with kindness and an engaging smile while his athletic prowess earned him the nickname Captain America.
“He was a seamless addition to our family,” Dan Falzon said.
Stephanie and Ryan adored each other and they were leading “the perfect life,” he said.
Sean Zirkle said, “A moment of silence would not be his style,”
before encouraging the mourners to stand up, shout, laugh and cheer as loud as possible to close the ceremony.
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