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Old 08-29-2007, 07:34 AM
MarthaK MarthaK is offline
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Remembering a Big Christmas Heart

I ran across this article while doing research. I hope when I'm gone people will remember me this way.

August 8, 2007 Wednesday 6:39 PM GMT

Man killed in crash remembered for his Christmas village

SECTION: STATE AND REGIONAL

LENGTH: 267 words

DATELINE: WEST CORINNE Utah


The family of a man killed in a car crash hopes his legacy will live on in the Christmas village he created complete with reindeer and festive hay rides.

Before his death Saturday, Donald Schulze, 54, operated a Christmas village in his backyard, which included a mini-aviary, a gift shop and a pasture for reindeer. He and his wife, Fay, also gave hay rides and hot chocolate near Christmas.

Schulze's sister, Iva Gerhardt, said she hopes the family can keep his dream going and that people will continue to visit the village.

"It brought him so much joy, and it was starting to get big he wanted it to be magical," Gerhardt said. "It will be weird this year without him."

Fay Schulze said her husband's greatest joy was dressing up like Santa Claus and sharing the reindeer and village with visitors. He loved to see children react to the reindeer, she said.

"He talked about reindeer from the day I met him. It (the village) was a dream come true for him. He lived for it and loved to make the kids happy," she said. "He never thought it would be so successful."

She said her husband shaved his beard the day after each Christmas, then let it grow the rest of the year preparing for his role as St. Nick.

Even when he wasn't dressed in his Santa suit, kids would see the beard and believe he was really Santa, she said.

Don's niece, 12-year-old Kodi Kihostadius, said she always looked forward to helping at the village during the Christmas season. "He liked to give candy canes and chocolate to the kids," she said. "He was cool and made it fun."

Information from: Standard-Examiner, http://www.standard.net
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