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SRJC football player who died in crash was ‘fearless’ and ‘always smiling’

Jorgan Sarganis died in an Oct. 17 car crash in Windsor.|

Those who knew Jorgen Sarganis, a Santa Rosa Junior College football player who died Oct 17 in a solo vehicle crash, describe him as “fearless,” “always smiling” and “huge in heart.”

The 21-year-old Windsor native, who was born May 9, 2000, loved football, camping in the Trinity Alps and “chillin’ with friends,” his father, Greg Sarganis said.

“He loved his family and friends to death,” he said. “He had a tattoo that said, ‘For those I love, I will sacrifice all.’ There are many, many friends who say they are going to get that tattoo.”

That was Jorgen, his parents, football coach and close friend and former preschool teacher said. He was personable, and “lit up a room,” his mother, Jeannine Sarganis, added. “He had a great sense of humor. Everyone loved him because he had an extremely positive attitude.”

And, he put others’ needs ahead of his own.

“If he was going through something personally, and one of his friends called and said ‘Hey, bro, I need you’ ... he would stop what he was doing and help them,“ said Angelica Nunes Garcia, who was Jorgen Sarganis’ preschool teacher.

Her son, Andru, also 21, was close friends with Sarganis. ”He had one brother (Brian, 18), but many friends who were his brothers,“ she said.

Sarganis also mentored Garcia’s younger son, Aiden, 16, and visited when Andru came home from Washington state, where he now lives, she added.

Sarganis lost control of his vehicle on a curve on the Arata Lane off-ramp in Windsor. The crash is being investigation by the California Highway Patrol.

Garcia said she and her family and others were “in shock, not knowing how or why it happened. Out of all my son’s friends, he was always more cautious.”

Sarganis, who was in his sophomore year at SRJC, was known for his passion for football. He had loved the game since he was 8, when he was a member of the Windsor Knights in the North Bay Youth Football League, his parents said.

He played all four years at Windsor High and was named Most Valuable Player one year and best offensive player another.

“We have all the trophies and blue ribbons,” his mother said.

Members with the Santa Rosa Junior College Football Team played their hearts out this past Saturday in honor of their fallen teammate, who was a slot receiver.

“We have been talking about how he would want to be honored,” said SRJC head football coach Lenny Wagner on Oct. 22 before the game, which the team lost 38-22 against American River College. “I have been reminding them what kind of a player he was, and we’re hoping they can honor him with their effort tomorrow.

“He was not very tall, about 5-foot-5 and 135 pounds. But he was the toughest guy on our team,” Wagner said. “He would go up against players who were twice his size. He was fearless. He just kept getting up.”

The majority of the team will be attending the funeral service, he said “and we gave his parents his jerseys.”

“He was a player that a lot of guys were really tight with,” he added. “Just a really good team player.”

Wagner pointed out that this is the third death of a player in the past year or so. One died in a motorcycle crash, another while sitting in his car talking on his cellphone in Sacramento, he said.

“It’s been a very emotional year for our entire team,” he said.

Sarganis’ parents pointed out that football was not all-encompassing. Their son enjoyed camping with his family, including a cousin from Redding. He had a big passion for clothing, especially athletic shoes, which he bought and sold online as a small business on the side. He also liked rap music.

Sarganis was expecting to graduate at the end of the fall semester and planned to go on to a four-year school and major in marketing.

He is survived by his parents, Jeannine and Greg, and his brother, Brian.

Services for Sarganis are planned for 11:30 a.m. Wednesday at Spring Hills Church, 3700 Fulton Road in Santa Rosa. Burial will be at 1:30 p.m. at Shiloh District Cemetery, 7130 Windsor Road in Windsor. A gathering will be held afterward at 2:30 p.m. at Charlie’s Restaurant, 1320 19th Hole Drive in Windsor.

You can reach Staff Writer Kathleen Coates at kathleen.coates@pressdemocrat.com.

Kathleen Coates

Windsor and Cloverdale, The Press Democrat 

As someone who grew up in a small town, I enjoy covering what's happening in Windsor and Cloverdale, which are growing in their own unique ways.  I delve into issues by getting to know people and finding out what’s going on in the community. I also pay attention to animal welfare and other issues that affect Sonoma County.

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