‘A free spirit:’ Tahoe mourns loss of Tim Schrader
According to family and friends, North Lake Tahoe lost someone as adventurous as he was generous when Tim Schrader, 43, died last month in a backcountry incident in the Frog Lake area near Castle Peak.
The family will have a rosary and funeral service for Schrader at Saint Charles Borromeo Parish in Sacramento on April 9.
Courtney Schrader said Tahoe’s diverse terrain provided ample opportunity for her husband, Tim, to satisfy an insatiable taste for adventure.
“If it was a powder day, he was out skiing even an hour before work,” Courtney Schrader said. “He loved hiking, camping, fishing, mountain biking and anything that got him outdoors. He later got into boating and wake surfing. We spent most of the summer on the boat.”
Courtney Schrader, who works in real estate, said she managed the responsibilities of the house and bills so Tim could live his “big, adventurous lifestyle.”
“I called him my Peter Pan,” Courtney Schrader said. “He would never grow up or grow old. I used to tell him, ‘We moved to Never Never Land for you.'”
In fact, the couple made the permanent move from Roseville to Soda Springs in 2016 so their daughters, Eleece and Kendall, now 18 and 16, respectively, could attend Sugarbowl Academy for alpine racing.
Courtney Schrader said her husband was a “hands on father,” who not only attended his daughters’ competitions, but coached.
“He loved working and spending extra time with his girls and their friends,” Courtney Schrader said, adding that the kids he coached loved him, in part, because of his favorite coaching phrase — “try not to suck.”
Went out of his way
Mikey Bochenek was a ski coach at Sugarbowl Academy when he began to get to know and work with Tim Schrader, Sugarbowl’s facilities coordinator at the time.
Bochenek, who now works for Truckee Overhead Door construction company, said Schrader made an indelible impression because of his sense of humor and perpetual smile.
“No matter how bad the job was we were dealing with, Tim was always smiling and having fun,” Bochenek said.
Bochenek said Tim Schrader’s relentless generosity was an inspiration and a wonder.
“If you needed help with anything, he made time when he never had time. He had more hours in the day than anyone I ever met,” Bochenek said. “Even with kids, a wife and work, he always managed to just go to help everyone else out.”
Bochenek said Tim Schrader pulled him out of slippery situations on several occasions.
Bochenek recalled one time when he got stuck in Long Valley in the woods at 3 a.m. trying to go around chain control in his two-wheel-drive van.
“I got stuck and stayed the night in my van,” Bochenek said. “Tim showed up at 5 in the morning after answering me at 4 with a Red Bull and doughnut for me with nothing but smiles tapping on the window — ‘wake up, hippy.'”
Bochenek said Tim Schrader hitched the van up to his Tacoma truck and the pair made it to Gold Ranch. Bochenek said he arrived early to work that day.
“It wasn’t just me, or him, he went out of his way for anyone,” Bochenek said. “He was a kind, open-hearted person willing to go out of the way for other people no matter what.”
Nicole Pitell, of Corona, is the director of operations and owner of Total Chaos Fabrication Inc. Pitell said she was repeatedly moved by Tim’s creative approaches to helping others when resources and tools were limited.
Pitell said she knows the Schrader family through off-road desert racing.
“Tim was my right seat,” Pitell said. “Every time I raced our company race truck, he was the chosen copilot I would compete with.”
Pitell said their extended desert family also heads down south for the Baja 1000. Pitell said she and Schrader operated a free mechanic pit service — ‘Locos Mocos’ — for the race’s participants.
“We would all get together on race day to turn wrenches and help people finish their dream of finishing a race,” PItell said, adding that she worked with Schrader for over 15 years.
Pitell said different people in her off-roading tribe have different skillsets, but said her group experienced an elevated level of comfort because of Tim Schrader’s mechanical skills.
“He was just a free spirit and a MacGyver — a turn key,” Pitell said. “You could put him into anything and he could make it happen. If you didn’t have the right tools, he could figure it out to fix it.”
This year, North Tahoe firefighter John Perhacs said he will participate in the Baja 1000 in honor of Schrader.
“I wanted to do it as a lifetime goal and Tim steered me in the right direction,” Perhacs said of the 1,000-mile race. “The car is going to be racing in his memory.”
Perhacs said he met Schrader after he was hired as the fire protection district’s facilities coordinator in 2018.
“He was the fixer of all things around the district,” Perhacs said, adding that Schrader helped others with welding, plumbing and riding.
Rebecca O’Neil is a staff writer with the Sierra Sun and The Union, sister publications of the Tribune.
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