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Mendocino County


Willits youths die of injuries
Parents donate organs to save others' lives
Two young men from Willits, Christopher Alan Schnitzius and Randy Clark, died last weekend.
Both had suffered head injuries in different incidents the weekend before. Clark was reportedly killed in an unprovoked attack. Schnitzius died as a result of a one-car accident in which he was a passenger. Memorial services will be held Saturday at different hours in order to accommodate community members who want to attend both. Services for Clark will be at 3 p.m. at Golden Rule church. Services for Schnitzius will begin at 11 a.m. at Agape church. The parents of both youths have decided to donate their organs through the nonprofit organization Golden State Donor Services to help save the lives of others. According to family friend Tami Jorgensen, Randy Clark's parents, Dave and Sue Clark, made the donation in the belief it would have been their son's choice. "They believe Randy would want every possible thing done to help anybody else" she said "There was no doubt in anybody's mind that's what he would have wanted. He was that kind of guy." Christopher Schnitzius parents, Richard and Sally Schnitzius had the same thought regarding their son's wishes. "Chris was a very caring person." said his aunt Nancy Stipe, "He had a really big heart." It's something he would have wanted." 

Christopher Schnitzius, a 19-year-old employee at Ray's Food palace, suffered massive head injuries Feb. 10 in a single-car accident on East Hill Road in Willits. He was a passenger in the 1975 GMC pickup driven by Toby Gregory, 21, who apparently lost control of the vehicle on a curve. Gregory struggled to regain control and hit an embankment, causing the pickup to roll onto its right side. Schnitzius, partly ejected during the accident, was rushed to Howard Memorial Hospital. He died Friday, Feb. 15. Gregory and passenger Kristin Leg, 14, were treated for minor injuries and released. Schnitzius, who attended Willits High School and Mendocino Community College, had planned a career as a California Highway Patrol officer, according to his family. "He was a good kid." Said Ray's manager Dan Guy. "It was just a horrible thing." Schnitzius also had "a great love of music and acting." Family members said. He appeared in Willits High School productions of "Grease" and "Once Upon a Mattress" and in a community production of "The Hobbit." Schnitzius' mother, Sally Schnitzius, works at Howard Memorial Hospital. His father, Richard Schnitzius, works at Safeway Stores in Ukiah.

Ukiah Daily Journal, Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2002 

Christopher Alan Schnitzius
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at Agape Bible Church for Christopher Alan Schnitzius. Mr. Schnitzius died Friday, Feb 15, 2002, in a Santa Rosa hospital from injuries suffered in a Feb. 10 auto accident. He was 20. Born on his mother's birthday (Feb 5) in 1982. Mr. Schnitzius had lived in Willits for 17 years. Before moving, he had lived in Reno, Nev. A graduate of Willits High School, Mr. Schnitzius had attended classes at Mendocino College and worked at Ray's Food Place for a year. He was a member of the Willits Concert Choir, the Men's Choir, The Willits Booster Club and the Willits Community Theatre. "Christopher had a great love for music and acting." A family spokesman said. "He played Vince Fontaine in the WCT production of "Grease" and the Minstrel in the WHS production of "Once Upon a Mattress." Mr. Schnitzius also played a troll in the WCT production of J.J.R. Tolkien's "The Hobbit." His life's goal was to become a California Highway Patrol officer, the spokesman said. He leaves his parents, Richard and Sally Schnitzius, brothers, Sean and Michael Schnitzius, and sister Kimberly Schnitzius. Grandfathers Willis Fales and Harry Schnitzius of Utah also survive, as do nephews James and Andrew Schnitzius and a niece Danielle Schnitzius, all of Willits. Alan Klier will officiate at services. Private inurnment will take place at Little Lake Cemetery.

Ukiah Daily Journal, February 21, 2002

Transcribed and submitted by April Hennes, Jul 2013