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CORINNA, Maine — Udo Schneider was remembered as a good friend and a loving father by a woman who said she was a friend of his for nearly 18 years.
“Once he was your friend, he was a friend for life,” Stephanie Boutilier, 34, of Corinna, said Thursday.
Word of Schneider’s death on Tuesday came as a shock to Boutilier.
“I remember sitting in the living room, talking to my boyfriend and then I heard on the TV that he had been fatally shot and I lost it,” said Boutilier.
Schneider, 53, was shot to death by Michael Curtis at the Hilltop Manor in Dover-Foxcroft, where Schneider worked as a maintenance worker. Both men lived in Sangerville.
Curtis, 46, was later shot and killed in a standoff with police by Maine State Trooper Jon Brown at the Piscataquis County Fairgrounds. Curtis was a dispatcher for the Piscataquis County Sheriff’s Office.
Mark Belserene, administrator of the state medical examiner’s office, on Thursday listed the official cause of death for Schneider as multiple gunshot wounds to the torso. Curtis died of a single gunshot wound to the front of his torso, according to the Maine Attorney General’s Office. Both deaths are listed as homicides.
Schneider, who was born in Simmersbach, Germany, had five children and eight grandchildren, according to his obituary. His daughters Sabrina, Jessica and Jennifer still live in Germany. His son, Lukas, 19, lives in Sangerville, as well as his daughter, Mariah, who is a senior at Piscataquis Community Secondary School in Guilford.
“His kids were the world to him,” said Boutilier. “If they needed something, [they] called on the phone and he would be right there. Sometimes it was a hardship for him, but he found a way.”
Curtis and Schneider worked together as bouncers at the Bear’s Den Tavern in Dover-Foxcroft, said Boutilier. They got along fine until Curtis got together with Schneider’s ex-wife, she said.
Although there was nothing physical, the two had arguments on how to raise Schneider’s kids, said Boutilier.
Boutilier said she dated Schneider on and off for several years, but they were always close friends. She said Schneider accepted her daughter, Katie, as his own when they lived together in Sangerville.
“He took my daughter right in, no questions asked. He played games with her, they went swimming, they went everywhere,” she said, adding that Lukas and Mariah also became close with her daughter.
Schneider was also there when Boutilier needed help through tough times, she said.
“You couldn’t ask for a better friend,” she said. “He’s seen me through a lot, and when I needed him, he’d open his door and let us in, no questions asked. He’s seen me through a lot of deaths. My mother, one of my brothers, my grandfather, my uncle — he was there for all of it.”
“He gave 100 percent of himself to everybody. He was always there if you needed him,” said Wendy Hunter of Dexter, Boutilier’s sister. “If you called him, he was there. You could be having the worst day and he’d show up and just smile at you and you’d know that [bad] day was over. He’d find a way to get that smile out of you.”
Hunter said what she remembered best about Schneider was his laugh.
“He had a funny laugh. If you got him worked up, he’d go right off into that German talk,” said Hunter, 33. “We didn’t understand a thing he was saying. He could’ve been telling us off and we wouldn’t have known it.”
Schneider always tried to be happy, the sisters said.
“He figured life is too short to be anything but happy. He strived to be happy and keep his kids happy,” said Boutilier.
Boutilier said Schneider was always interested in being outdoors and riding his motorcycle.
“He loved his bike,” said Boutilier, noting that he had a Honda Goldwing. “I remember him being very, very upset because he had a double-hip replacement and he thought that he would never be able to get on the bike again. He did everything he was supposed to to help himself with that. And he got back on that bike. He was so proud of that. He rode that bike every chance he had.”
Boutilier said when Schneider wasn’t focused on his children or riding his bike, he was concentrating on work.
“He didn’t quit. He was not a quitter,” said Boutilier. “I’ve never seen anything like it. I’ve seen him get up in the morning sick to his stomach and he would just deal with it and just go to work. He knew he had kids to support.”
Reporters seeking comment from Schneider’s co-workers at Hilltop Manor, an elderly care center, were turned away Thursday morning.
Though Boutilier is sad that Schneider is gone, she was happy to say that the last time she saw him face to face, they left with a hug.
“He was very big on hugs,” she said, fighting back tears. “That’s the hardest part in remembering him.”
A celebration of Schneider’s life will be held from 3 to 5 p.m. Tuesday at Mt. Kineo Masonic Lodge in Guilford, according to his obituary.