It might not seem immediately evident how a bandana worn by VAN HALEN drummer Alex Van Halen and a guitar signed by DEFTONES guitarist Stephen Carpenter relate to a terrible tragedy, the murder of Pittsburgh resident Paula (Lockhart) Lanz, 39. But for Mark Petrocelli, national salesman for Houston-based drumstick company Pro-Mark, and high school classmate of Mrs. Lanz's, the eBay auction of this and other music-related memorabilia seem a fitting way to raise money for Paula's two young daughters.
Ever since Mrs. Lanz's body was found on February 2 in a burned-out minivan that had been set on fire in Nashville, Mr. Petrocelli could not stop thinking about some way to help her daughters. Henry Lanz, the estranged husband of the Scott Township woman found shot to death, has been charged with homicide and conspiracy, local police report. Members of Paula (Lockhart) Lanz's family said the two little girls, ages 5 and 2, have been temporarily placed with a local couple until a final hearing on placement next month.
Mrs. Lanz's high school graduating class has established a trust fund for the girls at PNC Bank. Mr. Petrocelli, a former drummer from Pittsburgh who meets musicians nationwide through his Pro-Mark position, saw an opportunity to raise more money using his industry connections. Pro-Mark Corporation, the world's largest manufacturer of drumsticks, mallets and percussion accessories, exports products to over 100 countries.
"Being a member of the musical community, I called upon some friends that I knew would step up to the plate and help with our cause," he relates. "From this point on, let them be known as musical missionaries. This charity auction for these precious girls is just one example of how people can donate to their future care."
Donations can also be made at any branch or sent to: Lanz Children Fund, c/o PNC Bank, U.S. Steel Tower, 600 Grant St., Pittsburgh 15219.
The auction will take place on eBay on March 16, 2007 and will run through March 26, 2007. The auction can be located by logging onto eBay.com, clicking the advance search button and typing in SMPMUSIC04 to the "find by seller" field.
The charity auction packages also include memorabilia from current and former members of STYX, KISS, DAVID LEE ROTH, MEGADETH, LENNY KRAVITZ, PUDDLE OF MUDD, THE VANDALS, Neil Peart (RUSH), ZZ TOP, BON JOVI, VAN HALEN, ALAN JACKSON, and many more.
Mrs. Lanz's high school class of 1986, who just celebrated their 20th high school reunion with her in attendance in November, has been mourning their classmate through a web site they organized. The group has tried to make sense of a tragedy that has left two young casualties behind, mourning the loss of their beloved mother. The fund was started by former classmate and friend, Kristin (Zappa) Minneci, who had known Mrs. Lanz since elementary school. When she learned of the murder, Mrs. Minneci was stunned and in complete disbelief.
"I couldn't believe she was gone, especially in the manner that it happened," she relates. "Memories of things we did as kids came flooding back. We had recently reconnected after 20 years and I was looking forward to getting to know her again."
Mrs. Minneci spearheaded the fund drive for the daughters "who were now left motherless and fatherless as well." Her classmates were in agreement that something should be done to help them later in life. And, she felt it was the least she could do for a close friend who everyone still describes as a wonderful, energetic person with a great sense of humor.
"It breaks my heart that her daughters will not get to know Paula and how amazing she was, as they are so young," says Mrs. Minneci. "I hope they come to know that Paula touched a lot of people's lives and that the fund is a testament to that. Hopefully the fund will be able to help the girls later in life, in a manner Paula would want, like going towards their college education. With our classmates and community coming together, we can do something for those little girls that Paula can't."