Friends and family remember Jonathan M. Schulte as a boy who found peace with his girlfriend, also killed in the O.C. tollway tragedy.
The Los Angeles Times | June 4, 2005
By Andrew Wang
Songs of mourning and loss filled an Orange church Friday as more than 1,500 people offered their last respects to a teenager who died last week in an auto accident as he and five friends drove to a school dance.
Jonathan M. Schulte, 16, was remembered as an enthusiastic, funny student who suffered hard times but found peace when he met his girlfriend, Gillian Sabet, 17, who also died in the crash.
“Jill proved to be the rock in my brother’s life,” Jerome Schulte, 24, told mourners who filled the pews and overflowed into the parking lot at St. Norbert Catholic Church. “He loved Jill with all his heart, and she loved him just as much.”
The two died May 26 when the driver of an SUV in which they were riding lost control on the San Joaquin Hills tollway in Irvine, causing the vehicle to flip and roll several times.
The six teenagers were on their way to a spring formal aboard a yacht in Newport Harbor that was organized by JSerra High School, the Roman Catholic school in San Juan Capistrano that Gillian attended. Gillian’s funeral was Wednesday at Mission San Juan Capistrano.
Schulte told mourners that his younger brother had a tight bond with his adoptive mother, Shirley. After she died three years ago of cancer, Jonathan seemed to have “a chip on his shoulder.” That changed, Schulte said, when he became more involved with the youth group at San Antonio Roman Catholic Church in Anaheim Hills, and when he met Gillian.
The Mass opened with a song written by one of Jonathan’s classmates, Sean Boulger. His voice quavering at times, he played the piano as he sang to his friend:
You’ll find a way to give us now our hope,
You’ll find a way to comfort us in troubled times,
You’ll find a way in this life or the next.
Boys in white dress shirts and black ties bearing the seal of Jonathan’s school, Servite High in Anaheim, formed two columns along the center aisle of the church as the casket, draped in a beige sheet, was guided by close friends and classmates. Two boys wore black and white varsity letter jackets.
“When God calls someone home, even in tears, thanks be to God,” said Msgr. John Urell, the pastor of St. Norbert, who celebrated the Mass.
Paul Shea, one of Jonathan’s volleyball teammates, called the death “unreal.” But, he added, “I’ll see him again.”
Copyright 2005 Los Angeles Times