Soldier from Brainerd dies in Germany

Associated Press

BRAINERD, Minn. -- A Minnesota Army National Guard soldier on a three-week mission to Germany died there of bleeding on the brain Saturday, relatives said.

Jacob Pfingsten, 22, of Brainerd, died at a German hospital, said his grandmother, Mary Lou Pfingsten, of Brainerd.

Jolene Parks, Pfingsten's sister, said doctors initially thought he suffered a brain aneurysm because of hard coughing. He was diagnosed with pneumonia and whooping cough. But she said the exact cause was still unclear.

Jacob Pfingsten was the son of Tom and Beth Pfingsten of Brainerd and LaDonna and Randy Blackorbay of Maple Grove. The 2001 Brainerd High School graduate was a full-time student at St. Cloud State University, where he had been studying aeronautics.


Parks said her brother specialized in flight operations and was in Germany to help evaluate the readiness of a helicopter group that was getting ready to fly missions in Kosovo.

According to his family, Pfingsten collapsed at his desk in Germany, on Feb. 3. He quit breathing and CPR was administered. He was taken to a civilian hospital off base and placed in a drug-induced coma. His parents flew to Germany. Pfingsten suffered another brain bleed Thursday and died about 4 a.m. Minnesota time Saturday.

Pfingsten loved flying and had been a member of the Crow Wing County Civil Air Patrol since he was 13. He received his private pilot's license when he was 17.

"He was just super likable," said Brainerd Police Sgt. Becky Putzke, a family friend. "Everybody loved him. You couldn't help but like him."

Pfingsten is survived by his parents and family that include his two sisters, Jolene Parks and Sarah Pfingsten.

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