Last Friday, Alyssa Ludovice, 16, ran through her color guard routine at Elgin High School's first football game of the season and was looking forward to performing at many more games.
Her father, Christopher Ludovice, 54, had been laid off from his job with the city of Elgin earlier this year, but kept busy by continuing to look for work and fixing anything that was broken for friends, at home and at his church, Fox Valley Baptist Church in East Dundee.
Both Alyssa and her father, of Elgin, were killed earlier this week in a motorcycle accident in Lakewood, and a joint funeral service is scheduled for Saturday at the church, 16N562 Vista Lane. Visitation begins at 1 p.m. and the service at 2 p.m.
According to Cherri Ludovice, her husband of 23 years and her daughter were headed to a store in Woodstock. The pair had been riding together on his motorcycle since Alyssa was a little girl.
"They loved to take long rides, that was the thing they did," Cherri Ludovice said. "They rode to Marengo a lot. They made any excuse to go."
They were both riding Ludovice's motorcycle south on Route 47 at 8:53 p.m. Tuesday, when a Jeep Liberty turned in front of them at Route 176, throwing them from the motorcycle, police said.
Ludovice was pronounced dead at Centegra Hospital in Woodstock shortly after the crash. Alyssa died from her injuries the following afternoon, police said. The family said neither was wearing a helmet.
Police said the driver of the Jeep -- William A. Cizek, 49, of Hart Street in Harvard -- was cited for failure to yield when making a left turn.
Alyssa was just beginning to understand who she was.
She had started her junior year at Elgin High School, where she showed musical promise.
She was a member of the concert choir, a girls chorus group and had been performing in musicals and talent shows since middle school.
"She had an absolutely beautiful singing voice," her grandmother, Angie Books, said.
Alyssa also belonged to the school's color guard, the marching band, taught herself how to knit and crochet, loved to write, to practice archery and to make origami.
Her father was laid off from his job as a water maintenance supervisor, a job he held for 11 years. While looking for work, he continually did body work, painted cars as a hobby and fixed various items for everyone he knew.
"We always used to joke that he was MacGyver -- he could fix anything," his wife said. "If we needed a part, he could make one."
He also loved spicy food and one year, he even won a jalapeņo eating contest.
Books said the family is brokenhearted about the losses.
"We know others have gone through these kinds of things, too," she said. "We're not different or special, but this is just what we have to go through and it's so hard."