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JONATHAN DAVID THAIS 9/3/81 - 8/13/96

     Jonathan was 14 years old, he was going to be a freshman at the Monticello High School, Monticello, IL in the fall of 1996.  He was excited about high school, he was going to try out for the football team.  Jonathan was an excellent athlete.  He liked baseball, soccer, and track.  His favorite sport was basketball, since he had never really played football, who knows if he would have liked it.  He also liked to roller blade and ride his bicycle.  He also liked to torment his younger brother.  Jonathan was a young man that had a lot of potential.  He was so full of life, he always had a smile, and he liked to make people laugh.  He had a way of poking his mother in the side that would make her mad.  When he and his dad were building something - Jonathan would move him out of the way and pick up the heavy stuff.  He had a way about him that made you want to be around him.

     Jonathan was well liked by everyone - when there was a party at a classmates house, he would be called to make sure he was going to be there.  He is missed very much.

     Jonathan came from a family of seven children, he was next to the youngest, with four older sisters, one older brother and one younger brother.

     On August 13, 1996, the day of freshman orientation, Jonathan and some of his friends went to lunch, and then to a friends house.  One of the friends drove a car to another friends house.  There Jonathan, Richard and Laura (Jonathan's girlfriend) got into Richard's moms boyfriends car.  Richard was also 14, the car had the keys left in it.  Jonathan and Richard were in the front, Laura was in the back. Jonathan looked at Laura and indicated that she should put her seat belt on. Which she did.  With Richard driving they took off down the back country roads, the other car was behind them.  Richard was driving very fast and hit a rise in the road, he lost control of the car and it hit the ditch and then went across the road and hit the other ditch flipping end-to-end.  The sheriff figures that Richard was thrown from the car on one of the first flips.  The sun roof was open and he may have went out that or the back window because it was also busted out.  Jonathan was also thrown from the car but towards the end when the car stopped.  Neither boy was wearing a seat belt, the car was equipped with driver and passenger side airbags.  Richard was pronounced dead at the scene.  Laura crawled out of the back window and got to Jonathan who told her "call my mom".  Jonathan was pronounced dead several hours later at the hospital.  He had numerous injuries.  Jonathan has two sisters that live out of state, they were not able to go to the hospital to see him, the rest of Jonathan's family was there.  The church that our parents belong to was called when we first got to the hospital.  We had two of the pastors there, the youth pastor, and a lot of friends were there to offer support and prayer. The hospital was very accommodating - allowing us to spend as much time with him as possible. Laura had some very minor injuries.

     It was very hard to call Rhonda and Ruth (the sisters that live out of state) and tell them of Jonathan's passing.  Ruth lives in Kentucky with her boyfriend, they headed home later that night.  Rhonda and her husband live in California, they were not able to leave until late the next day arriving early Thursday morning. 

     Monticello is a very small town and has only one funeral home, with the death of two boys from the town, the funeral home was going to be very small for two visitations at the same time.  Richards visitation was at the funeral home, and Jonathans was at the high school gym. Our family thought this was appropriate because Jonathan would have spent a lot of time here the next four years.  We took some of Jonathans sports equipment with us and made collages of pictures of him growing up, to show people how Jonathan lived and enjoyed life.

     The families had a joint funeral which allowed people that knew both boys to attend both funerals. The funeral was also in the gym, the funeral director estimated between 800 and 1000 people attened the funeral.  The funeral was about an hour, because there were two ministers for Richard and one for Jonathan.  And a few people that said some things about the boys.  The high school awarded both Jonathan and Richard letters for sports, these were presented to the parents. A poem was wrote and read by a classmate during the service about both of the boys.

     We don't know why Jonathan was taken from us.  We only pray that we will see him again, when we all pass away.  There is a large void in our lives without Jonathan.  For such a young person, he touched a lot of lives. 

     The state police started a program in the fall of 1996 with some of the Chevrolet dealerships in the state where they went to area high schools and encouraged students to wear their seat belts.  The car that Jonathan, Richard and Laura were in was taken around so the kids could see what happens when you don't wear your seat belt.  There has been a very positive response to this program.

     Our family will never be the same, but we go on with our lives.  Jonathan's sister Ruth recently had a son and Jonathan's brother Brad and his wife recently had a girl.  Rhonda is pregnant now, so our family is continuing to grow.  These additions to our family  will only know Jonathan from the stories we can tell them and from the pictures we can show to them.

We love you and miss you Jonathan.

Mom, Dad, Esther, Aaron, Yvonne, Gary, Pat, Jennifer, Brad, Lee Ann, Heather, Gwen, Sierra, Breann, Johanna, Rhonda, Les, Ruth, Jason, and Nicholas

Please send comments to Yvonne

A Poem for Jonathan