River Forest student killed in highway crash remembered by Fenwick coach


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Jean Lotus and Marty Farmer

Staff Reporters

The news that John Malone, Jr., a River Forester attending Indiana University, had been killed in an Indiana highway accident was a shock to those who remembered his gentle ways during his high school basketball career at Fenwick.

"I heard about John on Saturday and it just was dumbfounding and stunning news," said Fenwick teacher John Quinn, who coached Malone on the Friars' varsity basketball team between 2009 and 2011. "I've known John since seventh grade and I also know his family well. John never had a down day in his life. He was a big kid, 6-5, 220-pounds but a gentle soul. He was always looking out for his teammates especially the younger guys."

Malone, 20, was killed Saturday, May 4, when he was ejected from a vehicle that blew a tire and rolled three times on northbound I-65 around 1:53 p.m., Indiana State Police said.

Malone was pronounced dead at the scene after being thrown out of the 2003 Ford Explorer, said state police. Another student, Michael D. Rendy, 20 of LaGrange, was ejected from the car and then airlifted to Advocate Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn with life-threatening injuries. Malone and Rendy were not wearing seatbelts, according to the state police investigation.

The driver, Mario L. Guagliardo, 20, of north suburban Deerfield, was northbound in the right lane when the right tire blew and caused him to lose control, police said. Guagliardo and passenger Jacob M. Newman, 20, of LaGrange, both of whom were wearing seatbelts, sustained minor injuries, police said.

Malone played on Fenwick's varsity basketball team in 2009-10 and 2010-11. The 6-5, 220-pound forward/center averaged four points and seven rebounds per game his senior year. He was named a tri-captain along with Dylan Barnett and Tim Gancer in 2010-11.The Friars finished 14-12 in both Malone's junior and season campaigns.

"He was our post player and a natural leader. John was a very good defender and tireless rebounder," Quinn said.

Malone was honored as the Phil Sloan Award winner (voted on by Fenwick basketball coaches), an annual honor given to the Fenwick basketball player who best exemplifies leadership, selflessness and character. Malone graduated from Fenwick in 2011.

Operations Manager Bill Lyman, at Double AA Rental in Melrose Park, remembered his summer employee Malone. who helped set up tents and make deliveries.

"He was a big strong guy, always energetic and reliable," Lyman said. "It's just a tragedy and a painful reminder that nothing in life is guaranteed."

John Malone is survived by his parents, Jack (Marge Hair) Malone and Cathy Malone

(Jim) Shaw, and his sister Ciara Malone. He was the grandson of Brid and the late Joseph Malone and Donna and the late Dr. Michael (Joanne) DiGilio. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation in John's name to Fenwick High School Scholarship Fund, 505 W. Washington Blvd., Oak Park, IL 60302.

Reader Comments

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Carol Herbstritt from Oak Park  

Posted: May 7th, 2013 11:57 AM

John Malone stood out in a crowd. Not just because he was tall but because of his smile and easy- going nature. We actually had a conversation every time we met. Unusual with teenagers. One of my favorites. What a loss!

Brendan from Oak Park  

Posted: May 7th, 2013 10:31 AM

I couldn't help but feel the sadness for the Oak Park River Forest community, of late, with the occasion of such sad and tragic losses for some of our resident recently. Anne Smedinghoff, only 25, and now John Malone, only 20 - and both having attended Fenwick. This story took a personal turn for me, however, when I realized that young Mr Malone had received the Phil Sloan Scholarship fund that benefitted Fenwick students for 20 years. Phil Sloan was my uncle. Another young life ends too soon

Friar Alum  

Posted: May 6th, 2013 4:50 PM

John was a truly wonderful man, I'll always remember how your smile and personality could light up any room he walked into. Love you Big Guy RIP

Seatbelt Wearer  

Posted: May 6th, 2013 10:41 AM

Remember that seatbelts do help save lives. What an unnecessary death. Sad but preventable.

Bill Kennedy from Oak Park  

Posted: May 6th, 2013 10:36 AM

As a Friar, AA Rental Center alum, and brother of two of John's friends this is heartbreaking news. Over the past couple days, everytime I have heard the young man's name mentioned it has been accompanied by what a genuinely good guy and friend he was. If everyone strived to be remembered in the same way upon leaving this earth, the world would be a better place. Rest in Peace John.

Dan Hefner from Oak Park  

Posted: May 6th, 2013 10:35 AM

John was an amazing young man. Our family will miss him, along with countless others. This loss truely is a tragedy.


Posted: May 6th, 2013 9:39 AM

AA rental crew will miss you

Taijuan from river forest  

Posted: May 5th, 2013 10:26 PM

john you were a very amazing and funny person. im going to miss passing you the basketball in the post at ffc. god called home another great angel R.I.P John.


Posted: May 5th, 2013 5:57 PM

God bless this family and enjoy every moment with your child as we never know what the future holds.

Classmate of John Malone from River Forest  

Posted: May 5th, 2013 4:17 PM

Never met a nicer boy. Had the privilege of going to school with him and growing up in River Forest with him. His presence on Earth will be missed, but he undoubtedly a gift to the angels. Condolences go out to his family and friends.

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: May 5th, 2013 3:42 PM

I am so sorry for all the families and friends of those mentioned in this story. My condolences and prayers.

Annemarie Valenti from River Forest  

Posted: May 5th, 2013 3:36 PM

So sad and such a tremendous loss. I remember John and his family from youth baseball. Great young man, always a great sport and always smiling. We will keep him and his family in our prayers.

RF Mom  

Posted: May 5th, 2013 3:22 PM

This story just breaks my heart, as I remember John from grade school days at Lincoln; I have a daughter his age. Great kid. I will keep his family in my prayers.

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