Mokena man killed by lightning while fishing
BY SUSAN DEMAR LAFFERTY Sun-Times Media May 28, 2013 1:02PM
Jon Oliosi, of Mokena, displays the muskie he caught moments before being killed by a lightning strike. | Supplied photo
Updated: June 30, 2013 6:31AM
Jon Oliosi had three loves: his 2-year-old daughter Olivia, the Blackhawks and fishing.
He had more friends than one could count and was the life of the party, according to his mother, and the beard he was growing to show support for the Blackhawks was so famous, it had its own Facebook page — and doubled as a hiding spot for an Easter egg hunt.
The 29-year-old Mokena man was killed Sunday afternoon when he was struck by lightning during a fishing trip Downstate, authorities said. Oliosi and friends had just finished fishing near the Lake Shelbyville dam on the Kaskaskia River in Central Illinois when he was struck.
“This is such a nightmare,” she said of the freak accident that claimed the life of the oldest of her three sons.
Laura Oliosi said she had talked to her son earlier that day, while he and his friends were sitting in his family’s camper, waiting for the weather to clear.
When the rain stopped, Jon and his friends returned to the lake, and he caught a large muskie; his friend took a photo. But the storms appeared to be moving in again, and Jon and his friends packed up to leave, Laura Oliosi said.
As they were walking down the steps from the dam, “Lightning came out of nowhere and hit him,” Laura Oliosi said.
Jon’s friend, who was walking with him, was knocked over but was unhurt, she said. “[Jon] was the life of the party. He was that kind of guy,” Laura Oliosi said. “He lit up a room. Oliosi was a 2002 graduate of Lincoln-Way High School.
Besides fishing, Jon and his friends also grew beards to show support for the Blackhawks during the playoffs. His beard was not to be shaved until the team won or lost.
The Hawks, who are among the favorites to win the Stanley Cup, play Detroit on Wednesday night in a game that will either send them on to the next playoff round or end their season. Jon’s friends were hoping to get the Hawks to dedicate a game in his honor.
As for his beard, Jon’s aunt, Samantha Burgess, said that during a family Easter egg hunt, Jon hid one of the golden eggs there.
“All the kids tackled him trying to get it,” she said.
She said a fund would be set up at a bank Wednesday for anyone wishing to make a donation to cover his funeral expenses. Any leftover funds would go to his daughter Olivia.
Visitation will be from 2 to 9 p.m. Wednesday at Vandenberg Funeral Home, 19604 S. Wolf Rd., Mokena. A funeral mass is set for 10 a.m. at St. Mary’s Church, 19515 S. 115th Ave., Mokena. Interment is at Good Shepherd Cemetery, Orland Park.