Sgt. Jason Schumann -- nicknamed Tuba for the instrument he played -- was a selfless leader and a talented, good man.
Hawley High School Principal Michael Martin remembers Jason Schumann as the kid who always had a smile on his face.
"He was the kid who was in the middle of everything, a good kid, a happy kid, but never a kid who got into trouble," Martin said Tuesday.
His nickname was "Tuba," after the band instrument he played through high school.
Army Sgt. Jason Alan Schumann, 23, was killed Saturday when a bomb exploded near his vehicle near Diwaniyah, Iraq, about 100 miles west of Baghdad. He was the 58th person with strong Minnesota ties to die in Iraq or Afghanistan.
Schumann, who was on his second tour of duty in Iraq, was escorting a convoy to the Baghdad airport when he died, said his family's pastor, the Rev. Tom Olson of Solem Lutheran Church in Hawley.
A town of 1,900 people, Hawley is about 20 miles east of Fargo.
Schumann's wife, Laura, and son, Joe, who will be 2 years old next month, have been staying in her native England while he was deployed. They are expected in Hawley on Thursday, Olson said.
His father and stepmother, Jim and Sherry Schumann, live in Rollag, 13 miles south of Hawley. His mother and stepfather, Candie Glisson and Russell Toth live in Fargo.
Schumann was born in Tucson, Ariz., and moved to Hawley in 1999. He graduated from Hawley High School in 2002. He joined the Army soon after graduation and was stationed at Fort Polk, La.
"It's hard to call him Jason; he's Tuba to everybody here," said Martin, the principal. "If I ever talked to Tuba, it was about what was going on in life, in his life, or issues in general."
Martin said Schumann sent an e-mail to his high school band director three months ago "thanking him for all he'd done for Tuba. He talked about learning dedication and discipline. For a 23-year-old to take time to reflect and convey that message, that says a lot about the kind of guy Tuba was."
Besides playing in band where he got his nickname, Schumann was the school's mascot during his senior year, Martin said.
"We're the 'Nuggets' and nobody knew what the mascot should look like," Martin said. "But they put together an outfit with a Styrofoam pick ax, making him up like a gold miner or something, and he was out there at all the games when the cheerleaders were on the floor."
Olson read part of Schumann's obituary that will be published next week in the Hawley Herald:
"He was a selfless leader, always putting his fellow soldiers' needs before his own. ... He liked to sail and also built sailboats and enjoyed cross-country running. He was a talented artist and enjoyed writing historical fiction."
Said Olson: "He was an extremely talented young man."
Olson said funeral arrangements are pending. Burial will be at Fort Snelling National Cemetery.
A memorial service will be held Thursday at Fort Polk, military officials said.