First Responders 04


Carl "Keifer" Keith Stahlman (Capt. NFFD)

October 13, 1967 ~ December 24, 2018 (age 51)
Obituary Image

Keifer arrived in this world on Friday, October 13, 1967, and left this earthly realm on Christmas Eve 2018, at the age of 51, on a familiar road in his life-long hometown, where he served the people of Niagara County, and Niagara Falls, New York. He went home to Heaven to celebrate Christmas with family he hadn’t seen in awhile. Though the dash between the dates is short, the dash was full of a life well lived. 

He was the son of the late Carl John (1943-2001), of Niagara Falls, and Joanne Renko Stahlman, of Tonawanda NY, two very creative and affectionate people who nurtured in him a sense of adventure, fairness and the appreciation of music. His parents taught him the value of family, independence, perpetual learning, hard work and play. He shared an especially close life-long bond with his only sibling, Kristin Stahlman, of St. Catharines, Ontario.

From his youth, Keifer had the heart for people, to reach out and help, making everyone’s day a little better and life a little easier. He often championed the underdogs of this world and humbled himself to serve others most of his life, especially his family, his closest friends, even those he met on any given day. Keifer had so many close friends. He knew how to draw people into his personal space where he would share so much of himself. He was a giver and had such a way with people. He was compassionate, funny, and alive on his own terms. He was truly unique and made new friends everywhere he went.

Keifer met his wife Amy (Manz), and his son Joshua (Ashley) Bach in 1995. Captivated and in love with Amy and Joshua, he immediately began a beautiful new life together with them. In marriage, they afforded each other every luxury of companionship, within a warm home full of happiness. The family expanded when Deven and Sara were born, further nurturing Keifer’s inclination to be kind and patient toward others and expanded the volume of the love in his heart. He was a playful yet firm Dad, and Uncle, who brought much laughter, joy, comfort and fun. 

Keifer played as hard as he worked and is quoting by his son Deven, as saying “a job does not define a man”, so Keifer must be defined by his play, and his love for his family and friends.

Keifer was an avid, all-season motorcyclist who loved twisted roads and the wind rushing past him, both on the highway and on the Niagara River.  He was a lover of fresh air, a warming fire, palm trees, warm tropical temperatures, the shore and guitar. He had an appetite for learning new things and welcomed challenges. He valued nature yet enjoyed future-forward electronics. Keifer loved music and much of his tastes expressed the depth of his heart, his playful articulation of the world and the complexities of his mental dexterity.

From a young age, Keifer pursued a meaningful life, one filled with significant relationships and adventure. With his adventuresome nature he tried his hand at all sorts of different things like scouting, horseback riding, travelling, Air Force basic training, little league coaching, white water rafting, boating, fishing, skiing, sky diving – he learned to live contently and to appreciate his privileges and passions - his favorite: riding his motorcycle.

He worked at various jobs in and around Niagara Falls before he became a Niagara Falls Fire Fighter in 1999. His work was as important as the people he met along the way and many became valued life-long friends. Keifer strived to be the friend that one would want to have in this world. He felt loved and he loved deeply, learning humility and service through the valuable men God placed in his life. It is our hope that people will remember the traits that Keifer most valued in the world; loving-kindness, empathy, generosity, peacefulness, patience, joyful hope and fun.

Keifer chose to believe in a God, a faith tempered by science and history but with a firm foot in the Holy Bible. In faith, he believed that some things are not meant to be known or figured out. Keifer was baptized and confirmed at Prince of Peace and St. Charles Parishes respectively, but Keifer mostly sought and honored God through his relationships with others believing in the resurrection of Jesus Christ and a beautiful hereafter. Keifer believed in a Paradise for us all.

In addition to his wife, children, mother and sister, Keifer is survived by his uncles Gary Renko (Brenda Schoenle), and Robert Calarco, his God Parents Aunt Catherine (Cathy) and Uncle Joseph Schaller, two nieces, Shelby and London MacIntosh,, his cousins Marc, Derek and Aaron Renko, Christopher, Timothy and David (Michelle) Schaller, step-mother Marlene Ventry, step siblings Jim (Dina) Priester and Denise (John) Salada, his mother-in-law, Linda Manz (Joe Ungaro), brother-in law Jim (Tina Larratta) Manz, nephew Leonard Larratta, and neice, Jessica Manz, his many second cousins, and extended family, his brothers and sisters in the Niagara Falls Fire Department, so very many true friends, those who multiplied the love in his heart, including his ten-year, ever-by-his-side companion, his dog, Chloe.

In addition to his Dad, Keifer is predeceased by his Grandparents Frank and Jean (Giancola) Calarco, Bernard (Beanie) and Anne (Pettrone) Stahlman; his ‘adopted for himself’ second parents, Robert and June Stanley, his grandparents-in-law Anthony and Margaret Alfonse, and his dear friend, James (Jim) Brunn. 

Keifer would want to encourage those he left behind to live their lives fully with integrity and respect, truth and loyalty, to appreciate your work and your play; to cultivate an inquisitive mind, and to be patient and kind regarding the human condition. 

Farewells and family visitation will be on Sunday, December 30, 2018, in the Chapel of OTTO REDANZ FUNERAL HOME, 2215 Military Road, Niagara Falls NY, from 2:00 PM to 8:00 PM. Family and friends are invited to attend Keifer’s Mass of Christian Burial on Monday, December 31, 2018, at St. Vincent De Paul Parish (Prince of Peace Church), 1055 N Military Rd, at 9:30 AM, with Rev. Robert Hughson serving as celebrant.  EVERYONE PLEASE ASSEMBLE AT THE CHURCH.  Prayers of committal will follow in Gate of Heaven Cemetery, Lewiston, NY.  Arrangements are under the direction of Michael R. Goodlander.  Please visit for online condolences and to order flowers.


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