Jake Kaminski

Jake Kaminski

Palos South friends, classmates miss Jake’s laughter

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By Bob Bong

The halls at Palos South Middle School are not as loud as they used to be.

That’s because Jake Kaminski isn’t around to make the other kids laugh.

Jake died earlier this month in a skiing accident in Wisconsin. His family was trying to take advantage of the long Pulaski Day weekend when tragedy struck on March 5.

“He was the one who made everyone laugh,” recalled Kimberly Rodgers, whose son, Justin, was Jake’s best friend in their tight-knit neighborhood in Palos Hills. “They walked to school every day.”

“Jake always was the funny one. He had some of the best one-liners,” Rodgers recalled when talking about the 13-year-old boy who was part of a tight group of boys in The Riviera neighborhood. “They did everything together.”

Rodgers said Jake would often go on family vacations with them. “He was always willing to help out,” she said.

Rodgers established a Go Fund Me account for Jake’s family. As of Tuesday, it had raised $15,555 toward a goal of $18,000.

“The response has been great,” Rodgers said. “I started the fund at $1,000 and it just keeps growing.”

Palos South Principal Stuart Wrzesinski also fondly recalled Jake as the jokester.

“Jake had a group of friends and he was always making them laugh,” Wrzesinski said.

He added that when school resumed after the Pulaski Day holiday, everyone was aware of what had happened to the happy-go-lucky seventh-grader.

“We brought in three social workers,” he said. “We tried to be as prepared as possible for the other kids.”

Wrzesinski said Jake’s classmates paid tribute to him by putting pink hearts on the school’s exterior windows.

“Pink was his favorite color,” Rodgers said. “Everyone decorated the neighborhood in pink when word got out.”

Wrzesinski said the school sold pink bracelets in Jake’s honor with all of the proceeds going to his family.

“We have a couple of other events planned to honor Jake,” he said.

As for his family? Rodgers said it best, “They will make it through it.”

Survivors include his parents Melissa and Donald and siblings Mikayla and Jordan.

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CRR_NH

Clear-Ridge Reporter and NewsHound June 12, 2024

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