Bears players swoop in to help family of slain fan
By Sean Jensen firstname.lastname@example.org October 12, 2012 9:50PM
Brandon Marshall (right) and his wife contacted Karen Pettry, widow of Chris Pettry, a Bears fan slain in Jacksonville. | Phelan M. Ebenhack~AP
CHRIS PETTRY FUND-RAISER
The facts: John Barleycorn in Wrigleyville, 3524 N. Clark Street, 5-9 p.m. Saturday.
Who’s coming: Numerous former and current Bears players are expected to attend, including Tommie Harris, Jason McKie and Kellen Davis.
For more information: Contact Wayne Jett of Sideline Marketing at (815) 529-3447.
Updated: November 14, 2012 3:13PM
Late Sunday night, as the Bears were shuttling to the airport in Jacksonville, Fla., receiver Brandon Marshall read tragic news.
Bears fan Chris Pettry of Lake Villa had his throat slashed by Matthew Hinson at a Jacksonville bar early Sunday morning. Authorities arrested Hinson a short time later, and he confessed to the crime.
“When you get a win, especially the way we did, it really feels good. It’s something special,” Marshall told the Sun-Times. “But on the way to the airplane, to read the story, it just deflated me.”
Pettry’s death resonated with the Bears.
Coach Lovie Smith had lauded Bears fans repeatedly in recent weeks for traveling well and chanting, “Let’s go Bears!” at Cowboys Stadium in Dallas and EverBank Field in Jacksonville. Pettry was one of those passionate fans, which is why Smith opened his news conference Monday by offering his condolences to his family.
“Our fans were outstanding,” Smith said. “From the hotel and of course throughout the game, we had a lot of people who came down to support us. [Chris] Pettry was one of them, one of our loyal supporters that was killed as he came to Jacksonville to support his favorite team. So our prayers definitely go out to his family.”
The Bears have their bye this week, but players separately offered to help Pettry’s widow, Karen. Marshall and his wife, Michi, contacted her.
“The biggest thing was to encourage her and let her know they can find rest in the Lord and lean on him,” Marshall said. “Also, we got to talking a little bit. She was concerned about not having a job. I told her to take her time and get through this.
“Use the people around her. Use us to breathe and take the time she needs and be there for her children. Don’t worry about any of that because we got her.”
Wayne Jett of Sideline Marketing works closely with a lot of the Bears’ players. A mutual friend of the Pettrys and Jett put them in touch.
Jett informed tight end Kellen Davis, who immediately offered to help in any way he could.
They scrambled to put together a fund-raiser to benefit the family.
Chris, a general contractor, was the sole income provider. He didn’t have life insurance.
Karen said she isn’t sure how she’s going to pay her $1,500 mortgage on their Lake Villa home. Her mother-in-law has offered to pay for the funeral.
“It was such a senseless and just a terrible thing,” Davis said. “I just thought it was a good opportunity to try to give back.
“It was pretty much a no-brainer just helping out a fellow human being who is in distress.”
From 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday at John Barleycorn in Wrigleyville, Davis and many other former and current Bears will host a fund-raiser. Signed memorabilia will be auctioned off from players such as Devin Hester, Matt Forte, Earl Bennett, Julius Peppers and Brian Urlacher, among others.