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posted: 8/19/2012 7:53 PM

A 10-year-old who loved and was beloved

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  • Tony Borcia gets a hug from older sister Kaeleigh.

    Tony Borcia gets a hug from older sister Kaeleigh.

By James K. Borcia

The suspected killer of my son has been arrested. And now another round of news stories about the tragedy of 10-year-old Tony Borcia's death has and will continue to ensue.

Seems everyone knows now how and why our beautiful son died, but not nearly enough know how he lived. Tony was entering fifth grade at Butterfield School in Libertyville. He was Margaret's and my youngest son and the brother of Kaeleigh, Joe and Erin. His wake was estimated to be the largest in Libertyville history with over 2,000 people attending. The line at one point lasted for more than seven hours. Tony touched so many lives and loved so many that his life here was a blessing from God, for which I am so grateful.

He was such an easy child to raise -- he was always happy and loved to be around his family. His nickname was "Tony Mine," which came from a song from the movie "Dumbo" that Margaret used to sing to him at bedtime when he was a baby and even when he grew older: "Tony mine, don't you cry. Tony mine, dry your eyes. Rest your head close to my heart. Never to part, Tony o' mine." The name "Tony Mine" stuck with him as he got older because he was such a sweet child that all of us wanted him for ourselves.

He loved going to school at Butterfield. He loved his teachers. This year he played the trombone and was on the school basketball team. But there's one ironic thing about Tony: Despite the fact that he was our best-behaved child, he was sent to the principal's office the most. It wasn't because he was disobedient, but he loved playing pranks. One day we got a call from school because Tony and a friend were standing outside a doorway and pulled the back of their pants down in front of some kids who were standing inside the school.

But while he loved to tease, he also had tremendous compassion for others. When he would see someone hurt, he would come to the person's aid. An example of Tony's kindness and love involved one of our baseball games this year. On Tony's team, which I managed, players wanted to pitch all the time. For one particular game, I had promised Tony the week before that he would be the pitcher. He was so looking forward to pitching that game and talked about it all week. Right before the game started one of Tony's teammates, Thomas, asked me if he could pitch because his mother was coming and wanted to see him pitch. When Tony overheard Thomas say that, he told me to let Thomas pitch instead of him.

Also, frequently during our games the score would become one-sided in our favor. Tony would feel sorry for the other team and try to see that the score did not get run up -- and he would console the kids on the other team after the game and tell them how good they were.

We were so blessed to have Tony for 10 glorious years. At the wake, when I looked at all of the pictures of him, it just reaffirmed what happy times we had with him and how happy he was, and how happy we were to be with him. We were so blessed to have him as our son, our brother, our friend for 10 wonderful years.

• Tony Borcia was struck by a boat July 28 on Petite Lake near Lake Villa. The driver of the boat has been charged with operating under the influence and reckless homicide.

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