Sunday, December 15, 2013

Goodbye, childhood friend

I grew up in a middle class neighborhood. Pretty much every one in upper Riverview, Kankakee, IL had similar upbringings. Our parents worked hard. We were disciplined ... not just by our own parents, but every parent on the block.

In the evenings during the summer, teens would gather on the corner under a street light to just talk, laugh, flirt, etc... A lot of hopes and dreams were revealed under that street light.

Most of the families were rooted in the area. Moving wasn't even considered. That being the case, we went to school together from kindergarten through graduating high school. Some friendships were maintained during that time while others were fond acquaintances. I think there was an unspoken bond and protective knee-jerk reaction despite distanced friendship. What always existed was a kinship.

After graduation, as we often do, we separate and go about building new lives. It happens. Regardless of what was sworn in our yearbook entries to each other, those promises can't always be kept.

Once in awhile we are all drawn together for class reunions that allow us to catch up and recount the silliness of our youth. Sometimes, we are brought together for less joyful occasions. Too soon, one of our childhood friends passes away. It hits us hard like a steely blade to the gut. Mortality delivers a hard blow.

We are left reeling. Many of us who often lament that we're getting so old suddenly realize just how much youth is left. We mourn with their loved ones. We ask questions. Seek answers. There's a need for closeness. Memories of that classmate are shared.

Even though the years have come between us, there's an immediate sense of togetherness. Something we all seem to agree upon is that with the death of our friend also goes a piece of our childhood.

A person who always present in my childhood through high school passed away on December 11, 2013. He is remembered as a person who always managed to smile, make others laugh. He was an outstanding athlete. He was active music. I fondly remember him as the cutest boy in first grade.

Andrew Gineris, if there is an afterlife or some mode of spiritual hearing device, I hope you're able to see how many of us are grateful to have had our lives touched by your existence.

Andrew Stephen Gineris, 49, of Charleston, S.C., and formerly of Kankakee, passed away Wednesday (Dec. 11, 2013).
He was born May 6, 1964, in Kankakee, the son of Louis and Janice Wadley Gineris. Andrew was baptized in, was a member of, and served as an altar boy for the Greek Orthodox Church.
Andrew attended Kankakee schools and graduated from Eastridge High School in 1983. In high school, he was a diver for the swim team and during his senior year achieved All American status. He graduated magna cum laude from Johnson and Wales University in Charleston, S.C., with bachelor's degrees in culinary arts and food service management.
He was a professional chef working in Chicago, Sea Island, Ga., Jacksonville, Fla., and Charleston, S.C. Andrew loved what he did, having a passion for food, including ice carving and being a garde manger chef.
Andrew is survived by his parents, of Summerville, S.C; two brothers, Louis Gineris, of Waycross, Ga., and Nico Gineris, of Summerville, S.C.; two aunts, Linda Kmiec, of Pawley's Island, S.C., and Penny Denoyer, of Kankakee; one uncle, John Wadley, of Santa Barbara, Calif.; one nephew, Jackson Gineris; niece, Sophie Gineris, goddaughter and niece, Zoe Gineris; and many dear cousins.
He was preceded in death by his grandparents, Nick and Alberta Gineris, and Phillip and Helena Wadley.
Cremation rites will be accorded. A memorial service will be held at the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in Kankakee. The service will be announced at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Piedmont Hospice, 501A DeAnna Lane, Charleston, SC 29492.

Please sign his online guestbook at
(the above obituary is from the Kankakee Daily Journal)

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