Former Sonoma Valley High math teacher victim of April house fire

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The occupant of the San Carlos Drive residence who was hospitalized following an April 24 fire died as a result of the incident, passing away from complications of smoke inhalation on April 26. He was identified as John Randall Litzenberg, 76, the father of Sonoma Valley High School cross-country coach John Litzenberg. He had lived in the house since 1970.

Like his son, “Randy” Litzenberg was a standout athlete in high school in football, basketball and baseball. He attended UC Berkeley and graduated in 1964 in mathematics, and moved to Sonoma to begin teaching at Prestwood that same year. He later taught at Altimira and eventually SVHS, where he stayed until his retirement in 2001.

Litzenberg started and managed the Goodtime Bicycle Shop in the 1970s, with his friend Joe Schlobohm, which they later sold to current owner Doug McKesson. His was an avid golfer all around Sonoma County, and was known as “the fastest golfer around” by friends who golfed with him, according to his John Litzenberg.

“He was a devoted fan of all of the Bay Area sports teams,” said his son. He was at the NFC Championship against the Dallas Cowboys in January 1982, which sent the 49ers to their first Super Bowl, which he also attended. “He and I were able to attend the Giants 2010 post-season championship run together, including the World Series,” said the younger Litzenberg. “The last several years, he really enjoyed following the Warriors.”

He and his wife Barbara had two children, John and his sister Kim. They were together for 25 years until they divorced in 1991.

The family will be having a Celebration of Life memorial on Saturday, May 19, starting at 2 p.m. at the Pfeiffer Gymnasium at Sonoma Valley High School, with a post-service gathering at the High School Pavilion from the end of the service until 5 p.m. Anyone who wants to donate in his memory should do so through the Sonoma Valley High School Scholarship Fund.

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