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Monday, May 26, 2008

Another Sad Loss

Goshen man dies of injuries
By John Kline
A Goshen man died of injuries suffered when his motorcycle collided with a car at 7:07 p.m. Saturday on Cassopolis Street near North Shore Drive, Elkhart.

Benjamin Michael Snook, 29, a conductor for Norfolk Southern Railroad, died at 10:10 p.m. at the Elkhart General Hospital emergency room.

According to Elkhart County police reports, Snook had been driving his 2008 Honda motorcycle north on Ind. 19 at a high rate of speed.

Police said the motorcycle went left of center on the curve on Ind. 19 south of North Shore Drive and collided with a southbound 1997 Pontiac Grand Prix driven by Melissa A. Heintzberger, 31, Osceola. Heintzberger suffered only minor injuries.

Police closed down Cassopolis Street for two hours while investigating the crash.

Kurtis Baumgartner, a cousin of Snook’s, spoke about the unexpected loss.

“We were pretty close,” Baumgartner said. “He was going to be a groomsman in my wedding. I’m getting married this summer. He was just a great person, and had a great outlook on life.”

Baumgartner said that Snook was always incredibly outgoing and full of energy.

“He was the life of the party,” he said.

Baumgartner also recalled Snook as being athletic and a lover of all things outdoors.

“He loved to kayak and camp, and he and a couple of his buddies owned a boat together, and they’d take that out to Lake Wawasee. I know he really enjoyed that,” Baumgartner said. “He also liked to do rock climbing. He was just very outdoorsy.”

Looking back on their friendship, Baumgartner said one of his fondest memories of Snook was his unfailing ability to brighten the mood of just about anyone he encountered.

“Any time I was home I tried to hang out with him, and if you were having a bad day, he’d make it all better,” Baumgartner said. “He was just a fun guy, and great to be around.”

Benjamin M. Snook

Feb. 5, 1979-May 24, 2008

Benjamin Michael Snook, 29, 923 S. 12th St., Goshen, died at 10:10 p.m. Saturday in Elkhart General Hospital following a motorcyle/vehicle accident on Cassopolis Street near North Shore Drive, Elkhart.

Born Feb. 5, 1979, in Goshen, he was a lifetime Goshen resident.

He worked as a conductor for Norfolk Southern Railroad.

He was a 1997 graduate of Goshen High School and attended Purdue University. He enjoyed rock climbing, camping, kayaking and gun target practicing.

Survivors include his father, Michael (Ginger) Snook, Goshen, and his mother, Pat (Tim) Havens, Goshen; grandparents Weldon and Jan Reynolds, Middlebury, and Carlyle and Pat Baumgartner, Ocala, Fla.; great-grandmother, Helen Kauffman Henry, Goshen; a sister, Brittany (Aaron) Hochstetler, Nappanee; and a stepbrother, Paul Handshoe, Goshen.

He was preceded in death by stepsister Tracey Handshoe in 1972; grandfather Kermit Snook in 1983; grandmother Doris Snook in 2008; and stepgrandparents Robert and Sally Havens.

Friends may call from 5 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at Yoder-Culp Funeral Home, Goshen, where services will be held at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday. The Rev. Tim Terrell of St. Mark’s United Methodist Church, Goshen, will officiate.

Burial will be in Violett Cemetery, Goshen.

Memorials may be made to United Cancer Services of Elkhart County and Goshen Park and Recreation Department.

Online condolences to the family may be sent to yoderculpfuneralhome.com.