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Eric Schulenberg

1954 - 2009, Santa Barbara

November 6, 1954 - June 25, 2009

Our beloved brother, father, and friend Eric Schulenberg died Thursday, June 25, of a heart attack, at home.

Eric was born in Honolulu Hawaii when it was still a territory, November 6, 1954. Our Dad was a Navy officer so when Eric was young he lived in Texas, Maryland, Hawaii, and California. Our Dad retired in 1966 in San Diego and Eric enjoyed a great childhood in rural Bonita. He graduated from Bonita Vista High School, Southwestern College, and graduated in 1978 with a BS in Geography from Chico State.

He spent most of his working life in the Santa Barbara harbor. He knew and loved the Islands and was loved and respected by every one who knew him. He loved the ocean and surfed most days of his life. A childhood highlight was meeting Duke Kahanamoko.

He loved being a Waterman. He was totally at home at sea whether on a surfboard or one of his boats. He was a free spirit with a curious mind and a loving heart, which led to travels all over the world.

He was a talented self taught musician and played fiddle, piano, banjo, and mandolin to the delight of his friends and family.

He had two daughters, Amanda Katherine and Ava Rose, 16 and 12. He doted on his family and was immeasurably proud of his girls. He was preceded in death by our Mom Judy Schulenberg. He is survived by sister and brother in law Abby and Jurgen Kogler of Del Mar, and sister Sarah Miller of Greensboro NC; his father Dewey Schulenberg; loving nieces Hannah, Emma, and Carolyn and nephew Andrew, and Dr. Liz Kim.

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Many an afternoon I would find myself driving my boat back from the Islands when I would see Eric heading home as well. Knowing the first one in got to unload our urchins first didn't matter since even though we were racing back knowing he was there took a big load off my mind. "Things" can go very bad in the middle of the ocean, and having a friend racing alongside was always the best company anyone could have.

Godspeed Eric! Your legacy is etched in Neptunes Diary for all eternity.

Richardsbowyery (anonymous profile)
June 30, 2009 at 9:15 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Over the 38 years I knew him I must have
told a thousand stories about Eric.
He was one of the best men I've ever known.
A natural teacher...
every time I talked to him I learned something.
He was with me on many of my first road trips.
Kind of like a big brother.
We hunted, fished, hiked, camped, surfed together.
Sometimes we talked once a week and sometimes less frequently.
We could always just pick up the conversation where we left off.
Much of my strange sense of humor came from knowing him.
I think one measure of a person is how much they are missed once they are gone.
I am sure that I will miss him.
It all has taken me quite by surprise...
always figured I had more time to do things
and just hang out with him.
Time becomes precious.
John Lopez
Chula Vista, California

ticklingmedusa (anonymous profile)
July 4, 2009 at 7:58 p.m. (Suggest removal)

We have a picture of Eric on our wall taken when he married our daughter and John Lopez. I always thought it was cool that our daughter was married by a ship's captain.

Later John gave me a book entitled "The Log From the Sea of Cortez" by John Steinbeck. As I was reading it I often thought of Eric because the description of the boat fit what I had pictured of his.

While I only met Eric once, I heard good things from John so I am sure Eric will be missed.

Terry Cassady
Leander, Texas

terrycassady (anonymous profile)
July 5, 2009 at 11:37 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Geographer, student of Earth, dyed in the wool surfer, commercial fisherman, gold miner, teacher, mentor and friend but, above everything else, supremely dedicated father. Eric provided many maps throughout the 25 years I knew him and he always had time to do so. It might have been an over the phone lesson on how to tune a car with a flathead screwdriver and a pack of matches when I was stuck in Newport Beach some anonymous Sunday afternoon or a trip to Santa Cruz Island so a young man could say goodbye to his mother when a blue whale crossed our bow on the way home. There were lessons on the art of tending on a fishing boat, directions on driving and parking a boat, many surfboard design conversations usually leading to a new board that would be perfect for his beloved no-paddle take-offs. If wealth and success are measured by the amount of time an individual shares and the amount of light he gives off, then Eric Schulenberg was one of the wealthiest people on the planet. We are better humans for having known him.

Sleep now.

spencerkellogg (anonymous profile)
July 5, 2009 at 4:33 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Eric was a special person. We met in the 5th grade at Sunnyside School. All through Bonita Vista High School everyone was drawn to his energy.
We will miss him.

pjjoregon (anonymous profile)
July 6, 2009 at 9:10 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I went to high school and junior high at Bonita Vista with Eric. He was always such a sweet person and always had a smile on his face. I felt so sad when I read that he had died. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.

Rest well Eric. We will all miss you.

Julie Ronis-Tavano
Bonita, Ca

julieronistavano (anonymous profile)
July 13, 2009 at 9:11 p.m. (Suggest removal)

he was like a father to me, an uncle if you will.... a fisherman alongside my dad for forty years, and a truly best friend and family to my dad, my brother, and myself. he was there for my first word, and he watched me grow from that little tiny baby into the young woman i am today, and ill never forget his beautiful heart and adventurous soul. catching snakes in the river on his stake in gold country... those times are some of my fondest childhood memories. that cute little chevy he drove us around in.... baby blue, he loved that little car. every saturday morning, i could always wake up and know that he and my dad would be enjoying the saturday morning sunshine in the yard, and know that he was ready to talk and give me advice on anything. A NY THING. the three of us could sit and exchange ideas, and laugh about anything from the idiots behind the city of santa barbara's next big waste of time and money to his little girls' latest trends and interests. and oh man, did he love them so much. he could talk about them for hours... they're funny litttle quirks, they're new "boyfriends", they're silly notions that just tickled him. he could never stop talking about his beautiful litle girls. every sunday, he and liz and the girls would invite our family to join them at the pool for a sunday of relaxation and marco polo, every sunday without fail. just the thought of all of us, playin in the pool, eric throwin eva up in the air, it brings such tears to my eyes. eric, a father, a mentor, and an amazing friend. i love you always
he was just so smart, soso wise... he talked about the most interesting and thoughtful ideas and explored his own briliant mind in a way that allowed for the rest of us to ponder his great thoughts with him. he thought about such worldly ideas and concepts, and still had time to give me boyfriend advice. and i love him for that. eric, always searching for the meaning in answers and the answers in life. i love you eric

michelleparkinson (anonymous profile)
July 17, 2009 at 4:02 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Its been three weeks now. How much I miss him. Who can ever replace him? No one.

I was never so proud as when I told people he was my brother. From our littlest age I was Erics Sister and I wore that happily.

A life well lived is shown in the hearts of those left behind. Eric left a sea of hearts that will miss him every day. Testimony to a life well lived, indeed.

AbbyKogler (anonymous profile)
July 17, 2009 at 9:18 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Ever since I was old enough to remember, I knew Eric. He was like an uncle, and even at a young age I remember the excitement of his visits. He always had an insight that blew me away, ideas that were beyond anything else I've ever heard, an imagination that went to places I could only dream of, and an aura about him of ultimate wisdom, compassion and humility. To be in the company of Eric was better than the company of anyone else I've ever known, and anyone else I can imagine.

Amongst myriad titles, Eric was a fisherman, a diver, a surfer, a gold miner, a survivalist and a wise man. More than anything, though, Eric was a father and anyone who knew him knows that he loved his daughters more than anything.

The last time I saw Eric was last summer. I was moving to Sacramento and on my drive south I took a long detour to the diggings. When I got there in the morning Eric was there, sitting with a blue pouch of Bugler to his side and watching the river flow by; characteristic Eric. We took a drive to a local junk yard and walked around, admiring the old chrome hub caps, the tail lights strewn about, and the destitute engines. After that we dredged for gold in the river and I breathed underwater for the first time with the respirator built onto the dredge. I can still hear the treacherous clicks of the rocks underwater, the warning signs Eric told me about to avoid being pinched. He gave me the gold we found that day, a little bit in a vial I have kept in my desk drawer. Every time I thought about the diggings I'd pull the gold out and admire it, looking forward to going again this summer.

When I was there, oil prices were at their all time high. I told Eric that the oil prices were distressing to me and caused me a lot of worried thinking. Eric, however, told me everything was fine. I asked him why, and he told me the story of when in the late 1800s New York had an insurmountable problem with horses being used as transportation in the city. Every leading scientist was saying the city would collapse, that manure would be waist deep in a matter of a few years. Elaborate disposal methods were conceived like enormous conveyor belts but nothing was viable. Then, just like that, the automobile was introduced. The horse problem wasn't just solved, it was eliminated in a way that no one could have even conceived. Eric said the same thing would happen again, there's some invention someone is working on that is going to revolutionize the world and it's so out there, we can't even grasp it. Therefore, don't worry about oil. Just continue living and it'll work itself out. That, to me, is quintessential Eric. He blew me away with that story so much that he changed my entire world view.

I miss Eric terribly and am still not able to grasp fully that he has left us. I saw him rarely but every visit was so valuable that I looked forward to it more than anything.

Here's to you, Eric. You were truly a legend.

phil_gowan (anonymous profile)
July 18, 2009 at 2:05 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I put on an old t shirt of his that his sisters gave me and covered his old 30 30 Winchester in penetrating oil and
took off a little rust that looked like it had been caused
by salt spray. Maybe he had it aboard a boat for a while....
I was going to bed and turned on the classic movie channel.
They were showing "Paint Your Wagon" from 1969.
I don't remember seeing it as a kid...
I do remember him giving me a rundown on the plot once .
I doubt if it was his very favorite but I think it might have been one of them. Needless to say I stayed up til dawn watching it and laughing a little..
When we were still in highschool we used to watch movies until dawn on the cable channels
and make up goofy lines and laugh like madmen.
For me his ghost is everywhere we ever went together.
He was born under a wandering star.

ticklingmedusa (anonymous profile)
July 21, 2009 at 2:18 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I didn't see Eric a whole lot throughout his life, because I live in far northern California. Whenever he did make a trip my way, though, it was just about the coolest thing I could hope for. I remember once my father (who knew Eric since Jr. High) and I drove up to Burney Falls to meet with him. He let me drive his old Ford Fairlane, and we had great time hiking to the base of the falls with him.

When I got home a friend I was going to high school with at the time had left a message on the answering machine. He told me that he and a few of our friends were going to see a movie, and that I should join them. Boy am I glad that I went to see Eric instead of going to the movies. For a guy who was very insecure in high school like myself, spending time with Eric was such a relief. Eric cut through all the insecurities that a high schooler could have like the blast from a laser beam. He was reassurance that more important things would come.

Eric and my grandfather had a mutual admiration for each other. I'll never forget the day when my grandpa died and my father called Eric to let him know. Eric responded by taking the television out of his living room and blasting it to hell with a shotgun out of grief. It was the most sincere demonstration of mourning that I have ever heard of.

My plan was to go see him out at the diggings this summer, but that will never happen.

Eric, I think about you every day, and keep you close in my heart. Your death had such a deep impact on me, and I will never forget the memories I have with you. Rest in peace, my friend. I love you.

paulgowan (anonymous profile)
August 12, 2009 at 9:50 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Eric - it has been a whole year - miss you brother. Think about you all the time. Keeping my eye on the urchin exchange for you.

rickfields (anonymous profile)
June 25, 2010 at 4:35 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Eric- Thank you for everything you taught me. Not a day goes by when I don't think about you. Many of my friends in life learn about your ways and how you approached life, your still teaching. I think of you when I am in the water or in the mountains, I know your there.

I lived next door to Eric when I was in school in Santa Barbara for 4 years. He was my mentor. Eric took me up to the biggest mansion on the mesa one day and pointed out at the ocean. He told me that if I wanted to I could have all this, the view, the big beautiful house, etc. Then he pointed out at the boats out at work at sea. He said, or you can have that and be amongst it. He was so wise the way he presented concepts. I will be thinking about you as I sail around the world Eric. I love you older brother.

pbass9 (anonymous profile)
October 2, 2013 at 3:22 a.m. (Suggest removal)

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