The legacy and continued impact of Glenbrook North graduate Tim St. John

Patrick Mahoney quickly got to know Tim St. John at Glenbrook North.

"Freshman year, Tim was my peer group leader and he served as a great example of the kind of guy I wanted to be when I was his age," said Mahoney, now a freshman longsnapper for the University of Illinois football team.

"He was a great athlete, a great student, and a very kind person. He was always very friendly and had a smile on his face. I guess I try to honor him in the way I live because he was a great person to look up to," Mahoney said.

University of Dayton freshman Katie Finan had a similar memory.

"When I was a freshman he was a senior and he was a cross country captain," she said. "It was my first year on the team and so that's where I got to know him. He was a very good leader and he was a kind person to the team."

At the 2023 Glenbrook North Senior Awards Ceremony in May, Mahoney and Finan were the first recipients of $5,000 scholarships presented by the Tim St. John Memorial Foundation, a charity established in August 2022 by Jeff and Julie St. John in memory of and as a legacy to their son.

In June 2022, Tim St. John, 20, had just completed his sophomore year at Purdue University and was working as an engineering intern with Collins Aerospace in North Dakota. He also was ranked nationally by USA Triathlon and competed for the Purdue Triathlon Club.

On June 19, 2022, the Northbrook student-athlete was on a midday training ride on a highway north of Jamestown, North Dakota, when a 78-year-old man driving a Chevrolet Silverado struck St. John's road bike from behind, pushing it off the road and killing St. John, who was wearing a helmet.

The tragic news stunned those St. John had touched in Northbrook.

"I am devastated and heartbroken," Spartans boys cross country coach Bill Race said at the time.

The driver, James Lees, of Jamestown, pleaded guilty to negligent homicide, according to The Jamestown Sun. On Monday, Sept. 18, Lees was sentenced to five years in prison, with the five years suspended. Along with probation and community service, Lees' driving privileges were revoked for 25 years, the Sun reported.

"(Tim's) passing did impact, directly and indirectly, a lot of people," Julie St. John said.

It led the St. John family - including children Jack, Renee, Aaron and Joe - to develop the Tim St. John Memorial Foundation.

"We've been really mired in this criminal case we've had for last 15 months, and it's been hard to focus on this stuff. But this is the stuff that honors Tim," Jeff St. John said. "This is all a work in progress but we're all very committed to it at the same time."

More than a thousand donors have contributed more than $135,000 to the foundation, which has partnerships and sponsorships with Glenbrook North, Purdue University, USA Triathlon, Maple School's Lew Blond 5K, and Young Life, for which Tim St. John was a senior leader in high school.

Northbrook's Joe Clemens and Naperville's Isaac Noren, two of Tim's St. John's Alpha Tau Omega fraternity brothers at Purdue, ran a benefit triathlon in 2022 that raised $8,000, Jeff and Julie St. John said.

Future endeavors may include a fundraising race, or efforts promoting safety for cyclists, runners and pedestrians.

"I feel a great sense of honor in being selected," said Mahoney, who put his scholarship money toward summer classes at Illinois.

That's part of Tim St. John's legacy.

"He had a lot of great qualities and was liked by a lot of people and had an impact on a lot of people," Jeff St. John said. "We're blessed for that, for sure."

Tim St. John
Tim St. John pictured at the Liberty Loop 5K in Northbrook on July 3, 2021. Courtesy of the St. John family
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