Chas Sneyers 1953-2006

by Tom Entwistle

sneyers.jpgChas and I had a strong connection. We were as close as brothers, maybe more so. Thirty years of friendship is a significant amount of time to get to know someone. Much of our time together revolved around preparing food, designing menus, setting up an oxygen bar, and marketing healthy lighting. If you believe one’s eyes are the windows to the soul, then Chas’s twinkling blue eyes were a direct reflection of the spirit inside him. Who didn’t feel good being held in his gaze?

Born in Hoboken, New Jersey, Chas was a soul destined for hard work. Forced to shoulder responsibility as a young boy, he was no stranger to toiling away for long hours. Still, he was a fun-loving kid, full of mischief and adventure. One day, he and a friend stole away to see a game at Yankee stadium. They shot past the gates and worked their way down to seats on the first base line, where Micky Mantle grounded to shortstop. An errant throw tipped off the first baseman’s glove and skidded to a stop just below the seat where Chas was sitting. Without a second thought, he leapt over the railing, grabbed the ball, darted past security, and made his way home. That night after dinner, his family watched a replay on television of Micky’s grounder, ending with little Chas darting off the field with the ball. Somehow he convinced his parents that it hadn’t been him; he would never venture so far from home alone.

In his mid twenties, Chas got involved with the Hippocrates Health Institute in Boston. He became a vegetarian, studied yoga and natural healing, and began his life’s work of service to humanity. Ann Wigmore, the institute’s founder, loved Chas. Together they visited hospitals in India and gave the sick wheatgrass juice. Even in India, Chas was able to grow and juice, using a hand-crank juicer, enough wheatgrass to bring several people back from the brink of death.

In Miami, Chas helped create the nation’s first Vitarian restaurant. Every dish served was literally growing — alive with enzymes, full of Chi. Chas was the manager, chef, and dishwasher. He perfected the menu, and grew hundreds of pounds of organic sprouts, succulent greens, and wheatgrass. I learned much about the art of food from Chas’s great culinary talents. His son, Nolan, inherited his gift and is a chef.

Chas was a minister — marrying and comforting us, offering sound counseling when we needed it. He loved animals and always carried dog treats in his pocket, making friends with as many dogs as people. Kids absolutely adored him. His single-mother friends always chose him to babysit. Passionate about sailing and swimming creeks, rivers, and seas, he was at home in and around water.

Chas was charming and comfortable around women, who adored him. His girlfriends were all beautiful. I often wondered how one man could be that lucky. And did I mention that Sneyers loved to party? When work was finished, he headed straight for his favorite pub. With a gift for gab and a love of pub atmosphere, he tipped many a pint. His outrageous humor and sense of timing often put him in the spotlight. Chas’s mind was mercurial. One time at a lecture he blurted out a one-liner that put the entire audience in stitches. Afterward, more people came up to meet him than the man who gave the lecture.

Chas never complained or whined. Even through a tough break-up with the mother of his son, bladder cancer, chemotherapy, financial ruin, lack of food, and sometimes lack of love, he never uttered a peep of self-pity. We learned of Chas’s death on March 4. That day was very important to Chas: His sister was born on March 4, as well as at least three of his girlfriends. And so, march forth Chas Sneyers, our dear friend. Gather from the heart of the universe a pearl, and being the good bodhisattva that you are, return to share yourself with us again. Chas Sneyers drowned in the Pacific Ocean.

His body was discovered on Summerland Beach on March 1. Donations are being accepted for the cremation of Chas’s body. Contact Tom Entwistle at 899-2197.

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