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Article updated: 5/17/2013 8:08 PM

South Elgin honors student dies in his sleep

Member of drum line died in his sleep Wednesday

By Elena Ferrarin

A freshman and honors student at South Elgin High School who was about to start his first summer job as a pool attendant in Elgin died in his sleep Wednesday.

Rhett P. Lundy, 14, of Elgin, was a member of the high school drum line, which paid tribute to their classmate Friday during a school assembly.

"He loved, loved the drum line," said his mother, Victoria "Vickie" Lundy. "He was the most loving, kindhearted, caring, compassionate child ever," she said.

His father, Steve Lundy, is a firefighter with the Elgin Fire Department.

An autopsy revealed Rhett had an enlarged heart, his mother said. Additional pathology will be performed by a hospital in Chicago, but those results won't be available for several weeks, she said.

"He died in his room, and that was his favorite place to be," Vickie Lundy said, her voice breaking with emotion.

Rhett attended St. Laurence School in Elgin from kindergarten through eighth grade. He participated in Cub Scouts, basketball and volleyball.

For several years, Rhett also played for the Crusader Youth Football league, whose president, Mike Holte, remembered him as always having a smile on his face.

"He was a very outgoing, fun-loving kid. ... Just (an) all-around good kid," Holte said. "The kind of kid that you have a lot of aspirations that he was going to do a lot of good things in life."

He finished the school year with a 4.2 grade-point average and wanted to become an engineer someday, his mother said. He was also a member of the school's bowling team and was looking forward to starting driver's ed classes this summer. He had "tons and tons" of friends, some whom he'd met online playing video games, she said.

Rhett recently became interested in politics, likely from hearing the car radio tuned to WLS 890-AM on the ride to school.

"His goal was to register (to vote) the minute he turned 18," his mother said.

South Elgin High School Assistant Principal Lisa Olsem said Rhett was known as a nice, funny kid who was always supportive of others.

The school set up a crisis center for students and staff Wednesday, and on Thursday a social worker followed Rhett's schedule and went to each of his classes to offer additional help for the students, Olsem said.

Rhett just had a knack for lifting other people's spirits, his mother said.

"On his Facebook wall, so many of his classmates all commented about his smile, that he would smile and laugh at everything. He was just a happy, happy, happy person."

Visitation will be from 2 to 9 p.m. Sunday at the Laird Funeral Home, 310 S. State St., Elgin.

A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Monday at St. Laurence Catholic Church, 565 Standish St., Elgin. There will also be visitation at the church from 9:15 a.m. until the Mass.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to St. Laurence School or to South Elgin High School for band uniforms.

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