Journal entry by Wendy Gorski

From Nicki and Bev to Idaho family and friends:
Hello All! We are watching the Covid-19 cases continue to climb in both Alaska and Idaho. As these rise, we are needing to adjust our plans to keep everyone safe in regards to Ben's Celebration of Life in Idaho. In order to keep the numbers smaller/safer, we are going to do a very small gathering limited to family members who are at lower Covid-19 risk in Boise this summer. We are planning additional smaller gatherings in the future as it becomes safer. We would love to be able to open it up to more family and friends at that time. If we are learning anything with the recent events in both our lives and the world at large, it is to be creative and flexible!! Thank you for your support throughout this process, it is deeply appreciated. We are hoping all remain safe and healthy. We are grateful for you.
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Journal entry by Wendy Gorski

I wanted to do a quick update so everyone was in the loop.  Nicki and the kids are heading to Idaho for a large chunk of the summer and because pandemic issues haven't settled, she is holding off on a celebration of life for Ben's Alaskan friends/family.  Ben really deserves the kind of party that can't be held right now, so we'll let you know when that is in the works.  

While in Idaho, she and the kids will have a small memorial for their Idaho family members whom they don't get to see often enough.

Tammy Vig was able to complete the Book of Ben and was willing to share the link with everyone. To view, click here. 

We miss you everyday Ben.

Journal entry by Wendy Gorski

Thanks for all the support, cards and well wishes.  Nicki asked that I update you with addresses.  Note: the Church is not yet open, so letters received here are being hand delivered to Nicki and the kids.  You may send them directly if you wish.

Nicki Schneider
PO Box 670143
Chugiak, AK 99567

Mark and Meg Schneider
1320 S. Arcadia St.
Boise, ID 83705

Scott and Bev Pressman
31517 Misty Mtn Circle
Eagle River, AK 99577

United Methodist Church of Chugiak
16430 Old Glenn Hwy
Chugiak, AK 99567

Journal entry by Wendy Gorski

Nicki has asked that instead of flowers, donations be directed to a fund in memory of Ben.  It has been set up through their church, United Methodist Church of Chugiak.  Click the following link, select “Make a One Time Gift”, enter your info, then enter the amount into the “Ben Schneider Memorial Fund”.   

The fund charges no fees and the money will compile to be directed solely at Nicki’s discretion.  This allows her time to consider how to donate the monies in a way that best represents Ben's work of getting children and youth out into nature.  The recipient programs will include the project Ben was working on of creating a mountain bike skills course out at the Mirror Lake Singletrack, as well as a program that buses kids not otherwise exposed to the Eagle River Nature Center, out for field trips.

At this uncertain and isolating time, a service for Ben will be deferred until we can be together.  Simply put, as he gathered us in life, so too will we gather for him again.  Hopefully we can do so sometime this summer, pending Covid 19 directives.

If you are like us, we have been yearning to hear Ben's voice.  You can commune with us in seeing the world through his eyes at his blog:

This will be my last post unless I have more information for you, so perhaps this summer.  If you choose to ‘Follow’ this site, you will be notified by email of any following posts.  

Thank you so much for being Ben's gift to his family during this terrible time.  They couldn't have done this as gracefully without your memories, encompassing love and enduring support.  As you come across stories and pictures of Ben, please continue to post in the Well Wishes section.  Your remembrances help fill this dark void with light.  Peace be with you.

Journal entry by Wendy Gorski

Today when the sun was at its highest, Ben took three last breaths and then took a step forward.  He passed in the arms of his wife and with his parents present virtually.  She left an origami crane in his hand and the doors open behind her as he flew away, free now.

At this time, if you'd like to reach out to his family, written condolences can be sent to his parents at:

Mark and Meg Schneider
1320 S. Arcadia St.
Boise, ID 83705

In lieu of flowers, we will be setting up a memorial fund in the next few days that does what Ben lived to do: get children outside, immersed in nature.  I will have details to you by Monday.  Thank you for holding this family in your hearts for these two months.

Journal entry by Wendy Gorski

Thank you for your continued patience and for being here with us.  As stated before, Pastor Dave will offer an invocation before we start singing.  

   – At the top of each music sheet, you can see which verses we will be singing.  

   – You can find the sheet music for printing or reference on Ben's webpage, as well as links to the Facebook stream and Zoom call:

   – If you decorate your car, please take a picture and put it in the Well Wishes section so we can show Nicki and out of town family our love.

Thank you all, and we'll be together in song soon.

Journal entry by Wendy Gorski

Due to Covid 19 we have a few requests so our community is able to remain in accordance with the governor's directives.  Thank you for joining us and continuing to wait with Ben and his family during this sunset.

1)  Please remain in your vehicles.  If you must exit for extenuating circumstances, please have masks and gloves.  These are precarious times and we must act responsibly to keep others safe.

2)  Please follow parking crew's directions.  We need cars to park in every other space to maintain six feet distance between cars.

3)  Please also turn off your vehicle when you park to reduce noise.  This means that you may need to wear coats in your car or bring blankets to snuggle under.  Open your windows and/or tune in as we start our vigil for Ben.

There are two methods for tuning in: 

1)  This is the preferable method for non-family members.  
Go to Facebook
         – Search for: canvas and clay in ak
         – There will be a live Facebook feed streaming here
         –  Here is the link:

2)  This is for out of state family members and close friends.  If however, you are unable to access the live Facebook feed, by all means tune in here.
        –  Go to Zoom
        –  Type in Zoom ID: 683 378 568
        –  Password will be on a poster as you enter the parking lot at Loretta French.
        –  If you are from out of state and have not heard from a family contact, please feel free to
             email me for the password.
        –  Please mute yourself and shut your own video off.

There will be no closing remarks; please depart when the last hymn has concluded.

Sheet music to follow.  Check back in if you are planning on attend.

Journal entry by Wendy Gorski

Ben is still on hospice and in a coma with no neurological changes.  Nicki is able to stay in the room with him and his children were allowed in to say goodbye.  There is a beautiful picture of them holding hands on Nicki’s well wishes post from a few days ago.

Some wonderful women have planned a drive-in, C19 appropriate vigil tonight for Ben.  Please don’t share this on social media as we need to be cautious with large gatherings right now.  Logistics on getting music to you will follow later today.  Please check back in before attending:

Dear friends of Ben,


As you probably have heard, Ben is now on hospice care. The trauma that took him in an instant reminds us that our time together is fleeting, and precious. Doctors anticipate his last day here with us is imminent. As Christians we know Ben’s soul, his spirit, is present even as his body is failing. That means BEN is with us still. We want Ben and his family to know that amidst all the chaos and uncertainty rocking our world right now, he is on our minds and in our hearts. So let’s make this time count.


Tonight we will come together, separately, for a drive-in candlelight vigil. We wish to lift Ben in prayer, show our collective love and support for Ben and his family, and give thanks for the precious gift Ben is to our community. 


Out of respect for Good Friday services at various times throughout the community, we will begin a little later in the evening, at 9 p.m. Loretta French Park is a special place for the Schneiders, and provides ample space for many friends to unite at a safe distance. 


We encourage you to make posters and/or decorate your vehicles with messages for Ben, Nicki, Leo and Kaya — be it a nod to Ben’s wit and sense of humor, or a simple expression of love. Please remember to bring your own candles, as we can not distribute any due to social distancing restrictions. When you arrive, light your candles and place them on the hood or roof of your car. Please remain inside your vehicles.  


The Schneiders’ pastor, David Hall of the United Methodist Church of Chugiak, will lead us in an opening prayer. Then, from the security of our own vehicles, we will raise our voices together in song. Open your windows a little and join in singing some favorite hymns loud and proud. 

  • Morning Has Broken
  • The Servant’s Song
  • Amazing Grace
  • Now the Green Blade Riseth
  • It Is Well With My Soul
  • How Can I Keep From Singing


We will be live streaming the vigil for Nicki and Ben at St. Elias, as well as their family out of the area. In compliance with social distancing mandates, please remain inside your vehicles for the duration and leave promptly after the closing hymn. 

Journal entry by Wendy Gorski

Ben is not doing well.  After much consultation, both with the doctors at St. Elias and a brain injury specialist at Craig Hospital, as well as prayerful consideration, Ben has been put on hospice/comfort care.  Please hold Ben and his family gently in your hearts and respect the sanctity of this transition time.  We will update you when we know more or he has passed.

Journal entry by Wendy Gorski

On February 6, 2020 Ben was in a car accident.  He is in Providence's ICU in critical condition with head trauma and brain swelling.  He luckily has no broken bones but needs a completely calm environment with no stimuli.  We will know more 72 hours after the incident so right now the Schneider's need a lot of prayers.  Everyone is welcome to visit the waiting room but please be respectful of Nicki, Leo and Kaya.  You will not be able to see Ben and probably won't see Nicki.  Your love and support is what is buoying us all up and it means the world to the Schneider's.
Ben’s Story

Site created on February 7, 2020

Ben's wife Nicki writes "I can't thank all of you sufficiently. But thank you. You are one of Ben's greatest gifts right now to my family, and I appreciate all that you are doing, and will do. I am truly grateful."

If you'd like to donate directly to Ben and Nicki go to:

Meal assistance can be found by going to:
Choose one of the options beneath "Support Links".

If you'd like to donate to Caring Bridge for giving us a space to provide support for Ben, do so via Tributes for Ben.


Nicki has asked for one person at a time to sit with her and we have that covered. Also the ICU is limiting drop offs, so please don’t bring food or other gifts without checking with us.
On the morning of Thursday February 6, 2020 Ben was in a car accident.  

He is unconscious at Providence's ICU in critical condition with head trauma.  He luckily has no broken bones, but needs a completely calm environment with no stimuli.  

We will know more when he awakens, so right now the Schneiders need a lot of prayers, positive thoughts and love.