October 26, 1990 – March 08, 2010

Garrett Lee Schlichtemeier, (a.k.a. Slick), 19, was a student as well as a member of the football team at Chadron State College located in Chadron Nebraska. His hobbies included sports (participating and watching), hunting, fishing, hanging with family/friends and video sports games. On the football field, coaches considered Slick a “Ball Hawk” for having the knack of always being around the ball and making plays but he was also a “Life Hawk” in terms of making the most of every minute of his life

Garrett was in Alabama visiting his college roommate and teammate over Spring Break. Early the morning of Monday, March 8, 2010, we got the call that we had lost our son as a result of severe head injuries sustained in a vehicle accident. We gathered our composure, booked flights and began to develop a game plan for what/how we were going to deal with the adversity we were about to face. During the flight to and the ninety minute drive from Atlanta Georgia to Opelika Alabama, we felt mourning his loss was a given but also rejoicing his life was a must. What follows is a Celebration of Garrett’s Life.

Garrett was born October 26, 1990 to the parents of Jeff and Shari Schlichtemeier of Ogallala Nebraska. Garrett’s sister, Laramie, is an incoming junior in high school and participates in golf, basketball, cheerleading and tennis. Both parents are teachers. Shari teaches business, sponsor of FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America), and also involved in numerous technology and school improvement committees at the high school. Jeff teaches seventh and eighth grade science and coaches varsity football (WR and DB), middle school wrestling, eighth grade boys’ basketball and middle school track.

Sports played a major role in Garrett’s life. Slick played three sports all four years of high school, but football was always his passion. This started at a very young age when he created his own practice arena in the living room of the house. He would run from one end of the room to the other making spectacular catches and scoring numerous touchdowns. Friday nights would be the highlight of his week, because he was the ball boy for the varsity football team. He idolized those high school players, and made every effort to be like them—an exceptional role model and to make a positive impact on the younger generation.

Throughout his life, Garrett always pushed himself to be the best. He strived to uphold ideals of excellence not only in the classroom but in the athletic arena as well. Being successful in one of these areas requires tremendous dedication, sacrifice and commitment. Success in both areas raised the bar to a completely new level. He had the goal of becoming the complete student/athlete. He totally accomplished that goal.

Garrett, a 2009 graduate of Ogallala High School, was in the top 5 in his graduating class of 92 students, with a GPA of 3.98. His favorite class was calculus – he liked the challenge. He was a member of the National Honor Society and Spanish Honor Society. He received the Presidential Gold and the Cliff L. Johnson academic scholarships to Chadron State College where he attained a 4.0 GPA the first semester.

During high school, through hard work, dedication and commitment, he lived the athlete’s dream. He was a team captain in both football and basketball, a 3-year letter winner in 3 sports, and received many athletic awards as a senior. He was presented the Dutch Cup Award (Ogallala High School’s Top Male Athlete) and a Nebraska All-State Football 1st Team selection as a defensive back. Garrett was chosen as one of four KOLN/KGIN Nebraska State Scholar/Athletes of the year and was a member of the Nebraska State Activities Association Football and Basketball Academic All-State teams. KOGA/KMCX honored him as the Outstanding Offensive Football Player of the year and was selected to participate in both the West Nebraska All Star and the Nebraska Shrine Bowl football games. Playing free safety on defense and wide receiver on offense, he set three school records for football: 10 interceptions in a single season, 17 career interceptions, and 65 career receptions. Garrett earned a football scholarship to play receiver at Chadron State College.

He also played basketball and golf. In these two sports, he received Southwest Conference All-Conference 1st team, and was the District B-4 champion in golf and qualified for the state golf tournament in Lincoln. He was honored by receiving the Travis Ford Memorial Biggest Heart Award, the Scott Wrage Memorial Mr. Basketball Award, and the West Wind Golf Course Top Golfer of the Year Award.

Garret was truly the “Ultimate Teammate”. He was always about “who” he could make better instead of “what” he could achieve. He was super competitive but the team always came first and reinforced this belief each and every day of his life. He led by example and made many personal sacrifices in order for the team and, sometimes, individuals to experience success. He demonstrated his unselfishness even at the end of his life when organ donation was chosen. Actually, the decision was made by Garrett when he was 16 while filling out his driver license form. He asked Shari, “What does it mean if I check the organ donor box?” Shari replied that if something bad would happen to you, your organs would be donated to people who are in need of specific organs. Garrett didn’t hesitate and said, “When the time comes, I want to help these people.”

We lost an exceptional son, brother, grandson, nephew, cousin and friend. However, he gave all of us the privilege of being part of a truckload of great memories in a very short time. The process of organ donation has played a huge role in the continued celebration of Garrett’s life and in our healing process. We feel God had a divine purpose for Garrett and made him the “Playmaker” in the organ recipients’ prayers. It makes us proud to know Garrett was able to give several individuals the opportunity to continue to pursue their goals and dreams.

In Garrett’s honor, we established a memorial scholarship at our high school. The name of the scholarship is “Live Strong, Finish Strong”. The name parallels Garrett’s high level of expectations, drive and accomplishments, both in and out of the classroom. The base criteria for the scholarship is the student must have a 3.5 or higher GPA and participate in three varsity sports his/her senior year. It is a true tribute to Garrett’s achievements, his character and attitude of demanding more of himself than others ever think is possible.

Our family motto has always been to “Finish Strong”. We have rallied around the strength of this theme, our FAITH, each other, family members, friends and definitely Garrett to move forward with our lives. Garrett’s “Over the Top” attitude of constantly raising the bar in terms of achievement was contagious and continues to motivate us. We know he expects all of us to maintain the same high level of commitment/drive to succeed and are confident that no one who was a part of Garrett’s life plans on letting him down.

Jeff Schlichtemeier,