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Obituary – Vincent D. Zahnle

Vincent DePaul Zahnle, age 69, of Plato, Mo., passed away on Tuesday, May 4, 2021, at Cox South Hospital in Springfield, Mo. Known to his family and friends as either Vince or Paul, he was born on January 1, 1952, in Franklin, Ind., to Vincent LeRoy Zahnle and Cozette Evangeline (Zickefoose) Zahnle.

Vince spent part of his childhood in Bloomington, Ind., and part in Tucson, Ariz. After graduating from Bloomington High School in 1970, he earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology at Indiana University, and then enlisted in the United States Army in the early 70s, embarking on a military career that spanned twenty years. As a young private, he served as a tanker in West Germany during the Cold War. He left the military briefly to attend Indiana University Law School, maintaining his military connection by serving in the Army Reserves as a drill sergeant, and graduated in 1982. After law school, he returned to the army, serving as an officer under the Judge Advocate General (JAG). He began this part of his career as a second lieutenant and finished as a lieutenant colonel.

After his military service, Vince began a second career that would span twenty years as a federal civilian attorney, but he still maintained his military connection as a JAG officer in the Army Reserve during his civilian career. He completed tours of duty in such varied and dangerous places as West Germany, Panama, Honduras, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

On June 6, 1981, he was united in marriage to Lucy Ellen Klingelhoefer in Bloomington, Ind. During forty years of wedded happiness, he was a faithful and loving husband as well as a devoted father to his four children. He adored spending time with his wife and family.

Vince loved studying all eras of history, especially the medieval period, and participated in a medieval re-enactment society and the Society for Creative Anachronism for most of his adult life. As a member of the Houston branch of the Fraternal Order of Eagles, Vince was also a staunch supporter of his community, serving as a secretary for the club and promoting their good works for many years.

He was an outdoorsman who enjoyed hunting, fishing and homesteading. He was also fascinated by science and engineering. He enjoyed building things and solving mechanical problems. He pursued an interest in everything from woodworking and leatherworking to gardening to model trains. He enjoyed of all manner of metal work, including forging, casting and repousse, and often repaired or restored firearms for friends and neighbors. Widely read, he knew something about everything.

He was an accomplished artist in paints, pen and ink, sculpture, woodcarving and bright-metal work. From 1996 until his passing, he and Lucy ran a small Internet and Renaissance Faire business, the Vault of Valhalla, featuring his bright-metal, hand-sculpted, hand-cast jewelry.

Vince had a delightful sense of humor and a brave, warm, and generous heart. As he traveled through life, Vince touched many lives as a mentor, a benefactor and a friend. His passing leaves a hollow space in the hearts of many that can never be filled.

Survivors include his wife, Lucy Klingelhoefer Zahnle, of Plato, his sons, Christopher Zahnle and Wolf Zahnle, and Christopher’s wife, Jessica Zahnle, all of Plato. He is also survived by his daughter, Gretchen Zahnle Crowder of Fayetteville, N.C., his sister and brother-in-law, Bridgette and Charles Savage of Bloomington, Ind. The surviving also include his father-in-law, Paul Klingelhoefer, and his brother-in-law, Brian Klingelhoefer, of Evansville, Ind., and his sister-in-law, Terri Klingelhoefer-Engle, and brother-in-law, Chris Engle, of Ellettsville, Ind.

Vince was preceded in death by his parents, Cozette Evangeline Zahnle and Vincent Leroy Zahnle, and his oldest son, Nicholas William Zahnle.

Online condolences may be made at

Services were held at Evans Funeral Home in Houston, Mo., on Wednesday, May 12, 2021, at 11 a.m. with Todd Richardson officiating. A brief graveside service honoring his military career will follow at 2 p.m. at Missouri State Veterans’ Cemetery in Waynesville/Fort Leonard Wood, Mo. Services were under the direction of Evans Funeral Home.

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