The family home of Charles M. Schulz, the man who created “Peanuts,” burned to the ground in California’s wildfires earlier this week, a family member has confirmed.
Schulz’s widow, Jean, 78, escaped from the hillside home in Santa Rosa about 2 a.m. Monday before it was engulfed in flames, her stepson Monte Schulz said.
The Schulzes built the California split-level home in the 1970s and the cartoonist died in his sleep at the house in 2000 at age 77, just hours before his last cartoon ran in the Sunday newspapers. He had colon cancer.
Monte Schulz told The Mercury News in San Jose that Jean Schulz is now staying with family. “She is very resilient,” he said. “She is energetic and pragmatic and very tough.”
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He said his brother, Craig, also lost his home in the fires.
Much of the cartoonist’s original comic strips, artwork and Peanuts memorabilia is housed in the Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center near the center of Santa Rosa.
The home of the world’s largest collection of “Peanuts” strips in the world is currently closed, according to the museum’s website, because the fires in the area knocked out its electricity.
“The museum is fine,” the museum’s marketing director Tracey Pugh told The Sacramento Bee on Wednesday. “There’s no fire around it and everything is safe.”
The cartoonist had long ties to Santa Rosa and Sonoma County, where the airport bears his name and displays bronze sculptures of his famous “Peanuts” characters, according to the Associated Press.
The Peanuts creator, who resisted having statues made of him, let the town install sculptures of his characters around downtown Santa Rosa, which at last reports had been unaffected by the wildfires.
The cartoonist and his first wife, Joyce, built a home in Sebastopol, Calif. in 1958. He did most of his drawing there but would have worked out of the Santa Rose house before he died, Pugh told the Bee.
“He had a study with a drawing table if he wanted to do anything,” at the house, Monte Schulz told the Mercury News. “Obviously that’s all gone. Everything’s gone.
“It’s sad. It’s erased. Everything that was in there, every connection we had to dad vis a vis that house, is gone now.”