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Michelle Lynn Tarwater

July 18, 1986 July 29, 2016
Michelle Lynn Tarwater
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Obituary for Michelle Lynn Tarwater
Michelle Lynn Tarwater
July 18, 1986 – July 29, 2016

Michelle Lynn Tarwater, 30, of Brookings, passed away as a result of injuries sustained while serving as flight paramedic on a medical transport flight that crashed near Cranell, Calif. on July 29, 2016.

Michelle was born July 18, 1986 in Castro Valley, Calif. to Ronald and Nancy (Anderson) Tarwater. She grew up in Livermore, Calif., attended Livermore schools and graduated from Granada High School in 2004. From there she attended Los Positas Community College where she earned an Associate degree in communications. Following her time there, Michelle embarked on what would become her life’s passion: emergency medical and fire response. She began work as an EMT and later enrolled in the Paramedic Science degree program at San Francisco City College. She graduated with an Associate’s degree and found work with the Del Norte Ambulance Company in Crescent City. Michelle worked there for 2 years before moving to Cal-Ore Life Flight. At Cal-Ore, she worked as a paramedic but later became interested in their flight operations. Michelle became the first in the region to be certified through the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians – Paramedic (NREMT-P). Michelle loved her work. When she wasn’t “working” with Cal-Ore, she volunteered with the Crescent City Fire Department while living there, and later the Brookings Fire Department when she moved to Brookings in 2015. She also worked with MARS, an organization providing emergency medical services for large events and festivals. Her most recent was at the High Sierra Music Festival in Quincy, Calif. in early July.

Michelle also loved the outdoors. Whether she was hiking, fishing, 4-wheeling, walking her dog on the beach, target shooting or playing disc golf – she loved to be outside. She was a member of the Pacific Northwest Four Wheel Drive Association who plans to dedicate their upcoming race to Michelle’s memory. Michelle’s priorities in life were her work, her faith and her family. She was devout Christian – most recently attending the Living Waters Foursquare Church.

Survivors include her parents Nancy Horne and her husband, Bryan of Livermore, Calif., Ron Tarwater and his wife, Joanne of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho; brother, Cole Tarwater and his wife, Shauna of Rancho Cordova, Calif., stepbrother, Andrew Horne and his wife, Alyssa of Tracy, Calif., stepsister, Ashley Horne of Corvallis, Ore., grandparents, Will and Margaret Tarwater of Prescott Valley, Ariz., Barbara Horne of Grants Pass, Ore., aunt, Audrey Dobski and her husband, Ted of Somis, Calif., uncle, Larry Anderson and his wife, Susan of Fremont, Calif. Michelle was preceded by her grandparents, Doris and Bob Daniel, Andy Anderson, Eileen Tarwater and Harry Horne, Jr.

Memorial contributions may be made to a Paramedic scholarship fund being established by the family in the near future. Please check social medial for details.

Michelle will be laid to rest in a private ceremony in Brookings. Redwood Memorial Chapel is assisting the family. Condolence may be made online at

Michelle’s heart and soul was dedicated to caring for others in their time of crisis. In a letter to her mom written and saved in the event Michelle died in the line of duty she wrote, “…but I want you to remember this: I died doing what I love – helping people – and I’m with the Lord now. If that’s how I went, well, I went out with my boots on doing what I love. I’m good with that!”
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