Sparky’s Gravesite

My blog today is a look at Sparky’s gravesite at Pleasant Hills Memorial Park in Sebastopol, California (about 20 minutes from the Museum) and why it happens to be in that location.

Me with my grandson’s dog, Jackson, at Charles Schulz’s gravesite.

People who have visited the gravesite have commented that the words on the headstone refer only to his military service, not to Peanuts.

Sparky was proud of his military service and how he matured, learned, and “became a leader of a 12-man half-track squad.” That is the reason the family chose that simple epitaph.

Recently, questions about the particular site emerged when colleagues from Snoopy Museum Tokyo visited Santa Rosa to learn more about Sparky and his life here.

Every question seems to have a story that goes back to Sparky’s history and the comic strip:

Sparky, Peggy, and Jerry at Sparky’s Wall in 1982.

It starts with Jerry and Peggy Jarisch, friends of Sparky and his first wife, Joyce, in the early 60s in Sebastopol. Peggy was the teacher to some of the Schulz children, and Jerry ran the Sonoma County Humane Society. He and Peggy had no children but plenty of abandoned animals, which they took into their home when other placements couldn’t be found. I think Sparky was impressed with Jerry’s open-hearted feeling for animals.

Now, the story brings us back to the comic strip, Jerry’s given name was Othmar, and we know how much Sparky liked funny words, so Linus’s favorite teacher became Miss Othmar. She is the one that television viewers would remember by the “wah, wah, wah.”

When we had to choose the name of the new education building we built at the Museum about four years ago, we decided Othmar Hall was fitting in honor of Miss Othmar.


So, back to my story about the location of his burial.

Two things happened in the same couple of years: We visited St. Paul, where our friend Randi Johnson took us to visit Sparky’s mother’s gravesite at Roselawn Cemetery (on Larpenteur Ave.) in Roseville, Minnesota. And we attended Jerry’s burial at Pleasant Hills Memorial Park in Sebastopol, California.

After seeing Dena Schulz’s grave site, with no other family buried nearby, I asked Sparky one day if he would like to be buried near his mother.

His answer was, “no, it would be too far for the kids to visit.”

And when I asked him if he had thought about where he MIGHT like to be buried, he said he’d like it to be the same place as Jerry—“if it is good enough for Jerry, it is good enough for me.”

And there we are!

The actual site within the cemetery was chosen by his daughter, Jill Schulz.


—Jean Schulz


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