Michael Ethan Kinberger 

 March 12, 1978 – March 31, 2021

Kinberger with his baby daughter.

Michael Kinberger with his baby daughter.

In the vibrant tapestry of life along the Mississippi, between Plaquemine and Morganza, one name shines particularly bright—Michael Kinberger. A beloved husband, father, cousin, friend, brother, and colleague, Michael’s life, though brief, was filled with purpose, love, and laughter.

Born to Kathleen “Kitty” Mary Kinberger, Michael grew up on the picturesque west side of the Mississippi River with his sister, Rachel Goyette. Michael and Rachel were not only siblings, they were best friends.

Michael graduated from St. John High School in Plaquemines. From there, Michael embarked on a diverse career path, showcasing his adaptability and grit. From pizza delivery to private investigating, he honed his skills until he found his true vocation at ExxonMobil Refinery as an assistant operator. 

As the eldest of nine closely knit first-cousins, Michael naturally assumed the role of the protector and guide. He was the anchor for his cousins Patrick and his wife, Kayla; Mollie and her husband, Scott; Lyssa; Gretchen; Devin and his wife, Noelle; Aaron and his wife, Lauren; and Steven. His nieces and nephews were gifted with an uncle in Michael, and he was always there for him. 

Kinberger with his extended family

Michael with his large extended family.

At the ExxonMobil Refinery, Michael’s reputation was that of a mechanical savant. Colleagues would often turn to him with complex problems, and Michael, with his characteristic wit, would guide them through the issue. Outside the confines of work, Michael’s compassion was evident. When tragedy took his best friend, Jason, Michael was right there, supporting Jason’s family emotionally.

Kinberger at work

Michael on the job.

Michael was renowned as a skillful marksman, a reputation he meticulously honed with weekly visits to gun clubs. His commitment to mastering the craft was evident in the precision of his shots, making him a revered figure among fellow enthusiasts. However, despite his deep-seated passion for shooting, Michael did not hunt because he harbored a profound love and respect for animals. 

Cars also held a special place in Michael’s heart, with memories of drag racing his Mustang and cruising in his Corvette being particularly cherished by friends and family. For Michael, the roar of an engine wasn’t just a sound; it was a call to freedom, an adrenaline rush, and a testament to man’s bond with machine. Michael could spend hours tinkering under the hood, hands covered in grease, a contented smile on his lips. 

Michael also loved good food, and he relished going out to restaurants. He cherished every mealtime as an opportunity to be amidst the hum of conversations and the clinking of glasses. But it wasn’t just the food that drew him in; it was the people and the interactions. Michael was undeniably social. His wife often marveled at how, no matter the restaurant they ventured into, there was always a chorus of “Hey, Michael!” greeting them. He had that easy-going charm that just drew people in. For him, every meal out was less about the food and more about catching up, laughing, and just hanging out with folks. 

Kinberger with his family

Michael with his family.

However, the brightest spot in Michael’s life was undoubtedly his daughter, Hannah. From the way his eyes lit up whenever he spoke of her to the immense pride in his voice when he shared her latest achievements, it was clear she held the most special place in his heart. From the moment Hannah was born, Michael’s life transformed. He went from a laid-back guy to a doting father, always putting her needs and happiness above everything else. Their bond was magical. From their weekend bike rides around Baton Rouge to their shared love for spontaneous ice cream trips, their moments together were filled with genuine love and laughter. Hannah wasn’t just his daughter; she was his confidant, his pride, and truly, the beat of his heart. 

Jennifer Alford Kinberger, his devoted wife of 15 years, lovingly recalls Michael’s dedication to his family, his infectious humor, and his impeccable punctuality. The void left by his departure on March 31, 2021, weighs heavy on everyone’s hearts, but his family states there’s solace in imagining him reunited with his grandparents Edwin “Da” Kinberger Jr. and Mildred “Granny” Landry Kinberger, his beloved uncle and aunt Thomas and Cynthia Kinberger Bride, and sharing a laugh with his best mate, Jason. The memories of Michael will always remain etched in the hearts of many as a beacon of laughter, love, and life. 

Kinberger in a suit.

Michael Kinberger


Author: Savannah Johnson


  • Interviewed Jennifer Alford Kinberger October 20, 2023