It's been 15 months since former Geneva High School standout athlete and student Ray Kaligian III died in a tragic accident in his home in Houston.
Kaligian and his dog Willie died when the car in his garage accidentally started without him knowing, eventually filling his bedroom with deadly carbon monoxide.
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But his friends and family aren't about to forget what this young man stood for: Effort and excellence in all endeavors. The type of stamp any parent would dream of for their children.
Bryan Knapp, Kaligian's best friend from the Geneva High School Class of 2003 and a teammate on the high school golf team, is working with Ray's parents to organize a golf outing in memory of his friend.
It is only fitting that the event will take place at 1 p.m. Saturday, July 12, at Mill Creek Golf Course, where Kaligian still holds the nine-hole course record for a Geneva High School player of a 4-under-par 32.
"The idea for a golf outing was a no-brainer when you associate it with Ray," Knapp said. "Mill Creek is a course he grew up playing on."
Kaligian left a lasting impression with students and teachers at the high school. Enough so that the baseball team dedicated the team bench in his name, Knapp said. Kaligian was a team captain and all-conference standout in baseball.
"He had an amazing impact with the faculty and administration," Knapp added. "Many teachers still have specific memories of projects he did and what a hard worker he was."
That hard work served him well after he earned a degree in chemical engineering at the University of Illinois, said Ray's father, Ray Kaligian II.
"He worked for Conoco Phillips, now Phillips 66, and he was one of the youngest executives at the company, making that level at age 26," his father said. "He had done a phenomenal job in the few years he worked there."
It will be good for friends to get together and exchange stories about Ray, and maybe even brag about him a little. After all, he wouldn't do much of that himself.
"When he passed away, we learned so much more about him in his golf and academics," his mother, Bobbie, said. "He would just look at that as bragging if he talked too much about it."
Those interested in participating in the 18-hole scramble can register at raykaligian3memorialgolf.com or contact Knapp about sponsorships at (630) 247-8022. Funds from the event will go to the high school athletic and academic programs. Cost is $100 for golf and dinner, $75 for golf only and $25 for dinner only.
O'Sole for STC: More than a year ago, I mentioned that St. Charles would do well to land a place like Batavia's O'Sole Mio in its downtown. I envisioned this type of interesting restaurant with its mix of gelato, sandwiches and coffee in a relaxing setting right next to the Arcada Theatre.
The owners of O'Sole Mio are close to doing just that. They are bringing a second location to St. Charles this summer in the former Dolce Bakery and Café on First Street.
It will be an excellent place to stop before a show in town for a bite to eat or a beverage.
If you haven't had a chance yet and want a sneak peek, just stop by the Batavia location at 27 N. River St.
Some tasty gyros: Apparently, my readers enjoy their gyros. Some responded to my request for finding the best gyros in the area, after a reader recently lamented the loss of Goody's in St. Charles.
Readers were quick to weigh in with favorites such as Skippy's (with Randall Road locations in South Elgin and St. Charles), Munchie P's in Geneva on State Street and Bulldogs on Island Avenue in Batavia.
Forty years of parts: Tom Ryan and his brothers couldn't agree more with my mention a couple of weeks ago about whether we needed the extraordinary number of auto parts stores turning up in St. Charles.
Ryan and his brothers would know. They are celebrating 40 years of business this year with their Thompson Auto Supply store in St. Charles.
The numerous new auto parts stores turn up the competitive heat on Thompson Auto Supply, but the brothers intend to keep working at it and supporting their community.
"We have been raised in St. Charles, and ironically on 13th Street, just a little south of where a new (auto parts) store is being built, we attended St. Pat's school and then went on to St. Charles public schools," Ryan said.
"Things change and stories like this (about homegrown businesses) don't seem to happen anymore in this corporate world," he added.
Even without a flood of new stores, auto parts operations face a tough business, Ryan said.
"Vehicles will now go 100,000 miles with little repair or maintenance," he added. "Less parts are being sold."
A Yorktown example?: If the developers of The Quad -- the name for the major face-lift Charlestowne Mall in St. Charles is about to get -- can somehow replicate the face-lift at the Yorktown shopping center in Lombard, it might do the trick of attracting shoppers.
Yorktown has been around since man first invented shopping malls, it seems. It now has a modern inside look and adjacent restaurants and stores that shoppers access from the mall doors into an open-air courtyard.
It has a similar look to it as some of the drawings The Quad developers provided city officials when making their pitch.
Yorktown has a couple of things a mall on the east side of St. Charles cannot have -- a nearby major tollway exit ramp, and tons of residents in DuPage and Cook counties nearby.
But St. Charles doesn't really want those two things. Still, let's hope The Quad can draw enough attention to make it relevant.