PORT ANGELES — A candlelight vigil is planned tonight and fundraising campaigns are underway to assist with funeral and related expenses for the families of a mother and daughter who died in a vehicle collision along U.S. Highway 101 near Sequim on Dec. 26.
The post-Christmas crash claimed the lives of April Schondelmeyer, age 40, of Port Angeles and her daughter Lyllian Moore, 12, of Port Ludlow.
Schondelmeyer’s beloved border collie, Sage, also died in the crash.
The candlelight vigil will be held at 5 p.m. tonight near the Coast Guard station along Ediz Hook, where Schondelmeyer and her daughter enjoyed kayaking together.
The GoFundMe campaign has a goal of raising $5,000 and $2,575 had been donated as of Saturday. To donate, visit https://tinyurl.com/PDN-AprilLyllian.
Schondelmeyer, who went by Apryle, was the lead groomer at Port Angeles’ PetSense. She mentored other groomers at the pet store, including Akasha Thomas, whose mother, Hallie Thomas, started the fundraising campaign.
“She was at my house three or four times a week. We were all really close and it was like a family over there. I considered her family,” Hallie Thomas said.
“I know that all of her coworkers are having a really rough time, [Thursday] is my daughter’s first day back at the groom shop and she’s not emotionally ready to be back.”
Funds raised will go toward family expenses and any remaining funds will be donated to Schondelmeyer’s eldest daughter, Shoshanna, who will turn 16 later this month.
“Her family and her other daughter live in Nebraska and I knew it would be costly for them to come out here and I thought we needed to help them,” Thomas said.
At PetSense, Schondelmeyer was known as “the epitome of the crazy dog groomer lady,” who enjoyed entertaining her co-workers by breaking into song in the groom shop and “just being silly.”
Some of Thomas’ favorite memories of Schondelmeyer come from karaoke sessions.
“The girl could sing,” Thomas said. “Right before Christmas she was stuck on the Anastasia soundtrack and she would sing while grooming.”
An animal lover, Schondelmeyer adopted Sage, a deaf border collie that had been attacked by a pack of other canines and trained her pet to respond to hand signals.
Mother, daughter and Lyllian’s father, Dave Moore, all were able to participate in an annual musical dinner theater fundraiser for Moore’s school, Options, a charter school in the North Kitsap School District that the middle schooler had attended since kindergarten.
“MDT has always been a big deal to the Options family,”said Jillian Bateman, mother of a friend and fellow Options classmate of Moore.
“Lyllian’s dad is a super-talented guy and the last two years he created the script for it and the last two years Apryle had performed in it.
Lyllian had a big role in last year’s performance which was taped but not performed live last March due to COVID. Nobody has seen the performance and our hope is, at Dave’s discretion of course, but we would like to show it to the community as a tribute to the family sometime in the future.”
Schondelmeyer had moved to Washington to be closer to Moore and family a few years back.
“Before Apryle moved here, Dave was a single dad working full time and sometimes Lyllian would stay the weekend with us or other families. We supported them and loved having her. Whoever she was with loved having her.
“She wasn’t the girly-girl type. One of her best friends the last couple of years was a boy and our Options family called her an old soul.”
Bateman said Moore became close to the adults working on the dinner theater performance.
“She was super artistic, just loved art, and was smart as a whip. Dave was an incredible dad to Lyllian. He cared so much for her, their bond and connection was so beautiful, and he really influenced her wit.”
Her middle school teacher, Nat Smith, came up with Moore’s nickname “Fyshstyk,” which became her Zoom name when Options switched to online learning last spring.
“Nat likes to come up with nicknames for the kids and one of Lyllian’s friends was nicknamed Fuzz. Lyllian wanted to be nicknamed Nugget, so they could pair up and be FuzzNugget. Nat said ”No, I’m going to call you Fyshstyk’ and it stuck,” Bateman said.
The hashtag #Fyshstyk has been used in remembrances of Moore left on Facebook by Options teachers and parents.
Moore’s teacher shared a memory that showcased Moore’s sense of humor.
“I woke this morning to the rain falling on our roof and a goofy remembrance of Lyllian. It was the beginning of last year and I had asked each kid what super power they wished they possessed. Some wanted strength or speed, the ability to talk with animals or fly. Lyll wished that she ‘could reach the cookie jar.’ Jeeze, tears and laughter attend one another for me right now and I wish our class could be together right now.”
The Options family is collecting funds for Moore online and at various locations in North Kitsap.
Funds can be sent through Venmo to Options parent Erica Whitbeck @erica-whitbeck-1, or via PayPal at [email protected]
Donation jars are available at CB’s Nuts, Cup & Muffin, Hansgrill, Bene Pizza on Bainbridge Island and Lucky Star, a Kingston consignment shop that Lyllian had interned with.
“The funds we are raising is to support Dave,” Bateman said. “And he is hoping to create an art room in Lyllian’s name at the new school we transferred to and I told him I would do everything I can to make that happen. “
Donations also can be made directly to the Options Program in Lyllian’s name.
Sports reporter Michael Carman can be contacted at 360-406-0674 or [email protected]