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Beldt's Aquarium Owner Remembered on Facebook After Tragic Death in Last Week's Apartment Fire

Thanks to a conversation with our Hazelwood Patch Facebook fans, we learned that the man who was killed in a tragic fire last week was Mike Mansfield, a father, business owner and genuinely nice guy.

As you might know, Hazelwood Patch has an active and community-friendly Facebook page where we share news, tips, laughs and information with our fans. But we also have amazing conversations and make great connections with our Facebook community, and sometimes, we can even offer support and learn something about ourselves and the community.

A recent conversation that happened on Facebook touched me profoundly, and I felt that I needed to share it with our readers who might not already be connected to us there.

A Father, Remembered

After , we were very sad to learn that a resident had been killed in the blaze. A few days later, I posted on our Facebook wall asking if any of our readers knew anyone who lived in the complex.

The first person to respond was Christi Fieselmann, the mother of the victim’s children.

“The victim’s name was Mike Mansfield,” Fieselmann posted. “(He was) 48-years-old (with) two teenage sons. It’s horrific. He is my children’s father.”

I asked her if she’d mind talking to me about him a bit so that I could share his memory and her family’s story with the community, and she obliged. In fact, we’re going to speak soon for an in-depth interview, but she shared some information about him on our Facebook page.

“I want people to know about him,” she said. “It will maybe comfort my sons and me too if there is a positive story about him.”

She said that Mike was a “sincerely nice guy” and that she was busy helping with the arrangements for his funeral. Her older son came home from Army boot camp on emergency leave after only being in the military for four weeks before his father’s death.

“It’s all the harder on him,” she wrote.

Another reader, Linda Smith, posted that Mike would be missed.

“I’m sure many Hazelwood residents know him from going to over the years,” she posted. “Still hard to believe he’s gone.”

Candice Brandon posted that Mike gave her and a friend their first jobs at Beldt’s when they were 15.

“It’s a shock to everyone,” she wrote. “He was truly a nice person, funny, who knew lots. I learned a lot about fish and reptiles from him. He will be missed.”

I was so touched by this public display from the community that I’ll be interviewing Christi Fieselmann next week to learn more about the man her children called Dad.

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Do you have a memory of Mike Mansfield? Share it in the comments section, below.

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Angela Atkinson August 11, 2012 at 03:37 PM
Eric, thank you so much for sharing your memories about Mike, and for your service to the community as a firefighter.
Jim Lovins August 12, 2012 at 12:20 AM
I will miss Mike as well! I attented his visitation last Friday, 8/10. I did business with him an knew him when I made purchases at Beldt's for the St. Louis Zoo, where I've been their Senior Aquarist for 22 years. He was a highly intelligent and kind -hearted person. I feel I some need to offer some corrections to some information posted here, though. Mike was never an owner of Beldt's Aquarium. He ran the company's retail store for many years as it's manager in the 1990's for it's owners William (Bill) and Virginia (Ginny) Macrum. I had, also, been employed at Beldt's during the 1980's before my recruitment by the Zoo. Beldt's Aquarium, Inc. was built and founded in the 1920's by Otto Beldt, a german immigrant and purchased by the Macrum's in 1967 where it continued as world renown tropical fish hatchery, wholesaler and retailer until the company failed in 2005 under the Macrum's son's leadership. The retail outlet was purchased an independent group of young men, who ran the shop until it's final closure last year. Mike's expertise led him to stay in the aquarium skill-set as an employee of a local, distinguished aquarium maintenance company, Tanks Alot, until his passing. J. Lovins.
Angela Atkinson August 12, 2012 at 12:35 AM
Thanks so much for sharing your memories of Mike and of Beldt's, Jim. I sincerely appreciate it, and I'm sure his family does as well.
Laurie Tenshler August 13, 2012 at 04:47 AM
O wow just seen this!! This is so sad, I grew up right across the street and my sisters, friends, cousins and I would always walk over there to see all the fish and stuff...We got a free goldfish from him, it grew to be about 8-9 inches long..it got too big for our tank ..we took it back over to him and he laughed as we asked him to take it back after a few yrs..lol he was a nice guy, took that one off our hands and gave us a new one! So sad to hear this..prayers for his family!
Angela Atkinson August 13, 2012 at 05:07 AM
Laurie, thanks for sharing such lovely memories about Mike and Beldt's! It's wonderful to see so many remembering him, and I know his family must appreciate reading the community's thoughts on him. :)

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