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Man believed to have drowned while kayaking described as fearless

Jefferson County sheriff stumped by incident

May 04, 2010|By RICHARD F. BELISLE

o Obituary

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. -- A Funkstown man who is believed to have drowned Saturday while kayaking on the Shenandoah River was remembered Tuesday for his sense of adventure.

The body of Ryan Schulz, 22, was found Monday night about one mile upstream from Shannondale Springs by members of Independent Fire Co.'s water rescue team, police said.

"Thrills, adventure, he was fearless. He loved mountain biking, caving, camping, anything outdoors," his mother, Phyllis Landry, said Tuesday. "If it was outside, he was doing it."

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Schulz was "doing something he loved" when he died, said Landry, who reported her son missing Monday afternoon.

Schulz lived with his mother and sister, Jessey Landry Schulz, 20, at 200 E. Chestnut St.

Schulz's father, Gerald Schulz, lives in Severna Park, Md.

Landry said her son earned his GED when he was 16 years old and went right to work. She said he drove an older-model Chevrolet.

"He didn't care. He put his money into equipment," she said.

Schulz worked for two years as a second-shift assembler at Stulz Air Technology Systems, an air-conditioning equipment manufacturer in Frederick, Md., where Gary Trio was his boss.

"Ryan was very smart, but he was really stubborn at first," Trio said.

He learned fast and grew as he learned, Trio said.

In the last six months, Trio said, Schulz turned into a great worker, liked his job, wanted to get ahead and got along with everyone.

"I was his mentor," Trio said. "He was a real asset to the company. We're going to miss him."

Jefferson County Sheriff Bobby Shirley said Tuesday he didn't believe foul play was involved in Schulz's death. He said he didn't know if Schulz wore a life preserver.

"We really don't know what happened," Shirley said, noting that the river was not unusually high Saturday. "There was no strong current or deep holes. Nothing. The weather was sunny and beautiful," Shirley said.

An autopsy was to be conducted by the West Virginia Office of the Chief Medical Center, police said.

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