Chief Kenneth Mergenthaler

Chief Kenneth Lloyd Mergenthaler passed away Thursday January 8th, 2015. Ken began his firefighting career in 1985 when he joined the Eastgate Volunteer Fire Department. Shortly after joining he became an assistant fire Chief to Kenley Goodian and was voted in as fire chief after Goodian moved away and held that position until his death. Ken was one of a handful of people who had the vision for an organization called Mutual Aid. Eastgate has hosted Montana Mutual Aid since 1997. Ken believed that there was a brotherhood among firemen and grew to believe there was a larger brotherhood among all emergency services personnel. The racing bug bit Ken again late in life when “Blast from the Past began drag racing in Helena one Sunday a year. The old Mustang was pulled out of retirement and back out on the track. Ken wasn’t going to do it alone so high school friend and racing companion Rob St. Clair was contacted and the racing team was back in action. One of Ken’s favorite signs hung outside of Lee’s Speed Shop In Great Falls, “Speed costs, how fast do you want to go?”

Ken was not only the Fire Chief he was a father figure, a brother, a mentor, a teacher and a friend.

Ken had a special bond with his Boston Terrier Chief. They were inseparable. Where one was so was the other, didn’t matter what time of day or night.