With so many unanswered questions about how Matthew Lange died, his loved ones are remembering how he lived.
Lange, of Oswego, was shot to death on Jan 27, 2017, while waiting for his young son outside Scullen Middle School on Naperville's south side.
On Saturday, Lange's family and friends marked the anniversary his death by gathering in the parking lot of the school at 2815 Mistflower Lane. They shared their fond memories of the 37-year-old assistant professor at Lewis University in Romeoville and father of one. They also expressed hope that his killer will be found.
"We just got to believe there are people out there who have the knowledge of what happened," Lange's father, David Lange, said. "Someone knows something. We just want them to come forward."
Police so far have not identified any suspects or people of interest in Lange's murder. They say they need the public's help as they work to develop new leads.
Saturday's memorial happened at the spot where Lange was shot more than once while inside his car. He was waiting for his 4-year-old son, who was attending Helena Modjeska Polish School, which rents space at Scullen for Friday classes.
"Matt's life was snatched from all of us who knew and loved him in the most heinous of criminal acts," family friend Anita Firmand said. "All of us still grapple with trying to believe that this actually really happened."
Firmand said Lange was a remarkable young man who lived his life in a loving, kind and generous way.
David Lange said his son was a devoted father who had recently earned his doctoral degree and was named director of Lewis University's Accelerated Psychology Program. He taught undergraduate courses, including personality and adult development.
When Lange wasn't working, pursuing his doctorate or spending time with family, friends say he gave his all as a stagehand specializing in lighting at Aurora's Paramount Theatre.
Technical Director Lou Ann Cates says she grew up with Lange's parents and was thrilled when Matthew came to work for her when he was a student at West Aurora High School. He stayed on until the time of his death.
"Matt was one of my best employees. I love him dearly and miss him more than he will ever know," Cates said. "All of his friends backstage think of him and talk about him often. He was a huge part of the Paramount. And he always will be."
• Staff writer Justin Kmitch contributed to this report