During my senior year at Oak Park River Forest High School, 9 of my peers found various ways to die. It was a little disconcerting.
  • one died of sickle-cell leukemia after a two year battle the entire town was privy to. Several fundraising events and a plaque in the student center attempted to honor her after she was gone.
  • a nice, quiet girl who had been my drivers ed partner a few years before, was shot and killed by a stray bullet in Chicago's Austin Village. She was pregnant at the time, so you may use your own discretion about whether you consider this incident the death of one or two people.
  • another died in a freak basketball incident. He was shooting hoops with some buddies in an alley, fell, and somehow hit his head on the concrete ground. He died instantly.
  • two were shot to death in their car at the corner of Belmont and Pulaski.
  • two pretty, athletic, popular, and seemingy happy girls committed suicide together. They sat in a running car and drank vodka until the carbon monoxide eventually did them in. People assumed it was a drunken mistake until they found the ridiculous note, making it very clear it was no accident.
  • another was hit by a car on Harlem avenue and died a few days later in the hospital. He had gotten out of his own parked car and ran flailingly into the middle of the street.
  • one didn't officially attend our school; he had graduated a year before. He was found dead in a Las Vegas hotel room one morning, lying in his bed. The information we were given was that there was no sign of a struggle or trace of drugs in his body. There are many elaborate guesses as to what exactly happened but no one really knows.

I am not trying to belittle any of these tragic incidents by listing them in this manner. Unfortunately, all these years later, what I remember most is not any specific one of these deaths but the fact that so many occured in that one scary year.

Editor's Note:

Another local noder to the above is working on a complete update of this information, some or much of which seems in error. update: in addition to (and before seeing) the editors note, i have returned to remove names due to privacy issues. hopefully as the above editor corrects the incorrect info, he will continue to leave out the names.