LEMONT – The family of Paul Davidson III, the Lemont native who died in a motorcycle crash the day before he was to graduate from the University of Illinois, are honoring his memory by starting a scholarship for architecture students at the university.
To help them raise money, several of Davidson’s former classmates from Lemont High School are holding the Paul Davidson III Memorial Picnic and Fundraiser at noon Aug. 10 at Northview Park, 1115 McCarthy Road, Lemont.
Amy Flynn, one of the organizers of the event, said a couple of the members of the Lemont High School Class of 2001 discussed having the event after Davidson’s funeral.
They later heard about the scholarship the family was setting up, she said.
“Somebody said, ‘Why don’t we make it a fundraiser and see what we can do?’ ” she said.
Paul’s mother, Corinne Davidson, said talking with classmates and friends of Paul has shown her a side of her son other than the quiet and shy person she knew.
“We’re just overwhelmed,” she said. “Even at wake, his classmates, they were all talking so positively about him.”
Flynn said she also remembered Paul as being quiet and had not heard much about him after graduating high school until he died. She said she thinks he started coming into his own after joining the U.S. Marines and serving in Iraq.
News of his death gave the people who had known him in high school a lot to think about, she said.
“People were thinking how much of an impact he has had,” she said. “We thought, ‘Here’s this guy who went and served our country.’ It all made us reflect more about what we are doing in our lives.”
Several Lemont High School alumni are lending their skills to the event.
John Koklys will bring his band, The VJ Sings, to the event. Rachel Owen from Image Icon will provide a photo booth. Alexis Hanneman will do face painting. Kendra Jarding of The Couple of Cookies will be providing cookies.
Boy and Girl Scouts will help run children’s games at the event. Lemont businesses have also helped by making monetary donations for the scholarship fund and item donations for a basket raffle.
Flynn remembers how the Lemont community lined the streets with American flags during Paul’s funeral procession.
“We’re just hoping that the community rallies around again,” she said. “Hopefully we’re able to raise money for the scholarship.”
Corinne Davidson said she hopes the Paul W. Davidson III Scholarship Fund helps other students pursue their architecture education just as Paul had.
She has a good idea of how Paul would react to the scholarship and picnic, both in his name.
“If he knew this was going on, he would probably be embarrassed,” she said. “He was never one that wanted to be out in front of things. But, I think he would also be proud.”
If you go
What: Paul Davidson III Memorial Picnic and Fundraiser
When: Noon Sunday, Aug. 10
Where: Northview Park, 1115 McCarthy Road, Lemont
More information: Attendees are invited to bring food and alcohol to the event. Entertainment will be available, as well as a 50/50 raffle and basket raffle.