The Schutts were planning to give their son, Edward, a chance to experience sky diving.
Described as adventuresome, this would have been the 18-year-old’s chance to soar.
Instead, the Lake Forest-Lake Bluff community attended its third memorial service in less than three months Tuesday afternoon after Edward Schutt was found dead Sunday morning near the railroad tracks in the 700 block of South Sheridan Road and just blocks from his family’s home.
The Lake Forest High School senior was struck by a southbound Union Pacific train sometime between 1:30 and 2:30 a.m. Sunday after his father, Stephen, president of Lake Forest College, reported him missing to police at 10:30 Saturday night, according to Lake Forest Police and Union Pacific officials.
This incident follows two others involving Lake Forest High School students, Farid Hussain and Will Laskero-Teskoski, both 15. Hussain, a sophomore, walked in front of a Metra train Jan. 9 on his way to school that was later ruled a suicide by the Lake County Coroner's office.
Laskero-Teskoski, a freshman, was also struck by a southbound train Feb. 28 on his way to school. The official cause of death has not been released by the coroner's office.
The trio of deaths has the Lake Forest and Lake Bluff communities reeling. More questions, less answers.
Tuesday's memorial service before an overflow audience at the Presbyterian Church of Lake Forest didn’t attempt to provide any answers, just a glimpse inside a teen who struggled with life.
During more than 40 of the nearly 90-minute service, friends, relatives, and others got up to speak about the Edward they knew. A talented piano player and art student, many envisioned him combining both in creating video games and anime he enjoyed.
Most often was heard the words gentle, compassionate.
One woman noted, “He had a remarkable generous nature. As he grew, Edward’s generous spirit manifested itself in the listening ear he offered, the thoughtful ways he reached out to people who were hurting, the tenderness and acceptance he extended to those in vulnerable situations, and the gentleness with which he handled delicate issues. He was a model of gentle strength and generosity.”
Another woman recalled spending just an hour with Edward when she took her granddaughter and Edward’s sister, Mary, to the Lake Bluff Fourth of July festivities.
“I knew Edward only had an hour and he had some place to go. He was so wonderful with the two girls. After they had run through all of their tickets after about 45 minutes, they asked if they could get another roll of tickets. He looked at them with the eyes you are talking about and the smile you are talking about and said, ‘Sure’. They went over and bought another roll and he stood there while they played the games.”
But there were also insights into the struggles. One teen thanked Edward for saving her life when she was at a crossroads, and only wished “he would have called me this time. I could have told him just how wonderful, inspiring and incredible person he was.”
Reverend Christine Chakoian read letters to the audience from both parents. In her letter, Edward’s mom, Lori Grennon, noted “my only peace is knowing that you are at peace.”
So while Edward may not have been able to make that first skydive, his Mom, in her letter, pictures him flying just the same.
She wrote: “Instead of thinking of you at rest, I want to think of your beautiful and happy spirit as soaring, and maybe selfishly at times gliding closer to me and all the people who loved you just for the chance to feel your presence again.”
The family has asked memorial donations be made to the North Chicago Community Partners.