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Area shows support at Larimer visitation

Caption
(Josh Peckler – jpeckler@shawmedia.com)
A group of women attending the visitation of Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class John Larimer comfort each other Friday as they walk into Davenport Funeral Home in Crystal Lake. Larimer was one of 12 people killed in a mass shooting at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo.

CRYSTAL LAKE – A long line of people waited Friday inside Davenport Family Funeral Home to visit with the family of a 2003 Crystal Lake South graduate who was killed in last week’s movie theater massacre in Colorado.

Along with extensive flower arrangements, photos of John Larimer were being shown in a slide show – images of Larimer performing in school plays and pictures of him in his Navy uniforms.

With a wait of at least 40 minutes, mourners, some with flowers, lined up to view the closed, flag-draped casket, pay respects and show support for the Larimer family.

John Larimer, 27, was one of 12 people killed July 20 in an Aurora, Colo., movie theater when, according to police, 24-year-old James Holmes started shooting during a midnight showing of “The Dark Knight Rises.” Besides the dead, 58 people were injured.

Larimer died protecting his girlfriend, Juleah Vojtsek of Algonquin.

Larimer, a Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class, was part of the U.S. Fleet Cyber Command/U.S. 10th Fleet, stationed at Buckley Air Force Base in Colorado.

He worked as a cryptologic technician.

He was the fourth generation of his family to serve in the Navy.

Outside the funeral home, members of the Illinois Old Guard and other organizations stood and held flags. U.S. flags lined the sidewalk, and one flew at half-staff along with a Navy flag.

Those attending the visitation included friends, co-workers, members of the military and Boy Scouts. There were personnel from McHenry High School District 156, where Kathleen Larimer, John’s mother, works as a nurse.

“She truly is there for the kids and staff,” said Lynn Schnelker, principal at McHenry High School East Campus.

Friends of the Larimers and people who do not know the family left online condolences at the Davenport Family Funeral Home website, www.davenportfamily.com.

There were entries from McHenry, West Dundee, Crystal Lake and Elk Grove Village, as well as cities and towns in California, Georgia, Tennessee, Colorado, Minnesota, New York and Florida.

There was one message from friends from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, where John Larimer graduated from college.

Among those outside the visitation was Mike Schinske, 37, of Hebron.

He works with Beth Croft, John Larimer’s sister, at Centegra.

“She’s been very proud of her brother,” Schinske said. “They’re a very close, supportive family” and they appeared to be holding up well, he said. “I thought they were doing very well, very strong.”

Ron Tabel of Crystal Lake is a friend of the Vojtsek family and came to the visitation.

“This was a national event. You always see and hear about it, but when it hits home like this, it really makes you stop to think,” Tabel said. “Here it’s a young man who not only was willing to put his life up for his country, but also for a friend.

“It’s a great thing that Crystal Lake is standing behind ... somebody like this.”

Juleah Vojtsek was at the visitation with several friends, Tabel said, and, “She seems to be holding up and doing OK.”

Steven Kesner, 22, came from Lockport. He is a friend of John Larimer’s father, Scott Larimer, whom he has known for nine years through Civil War re-enactments.

“He’s the most knowledgeable man in line, he knows more than any of us, but he lets everyone excel and learn,” Kesner said. “He loves teaching. He loves just being with kids.”

Kesner said never knew John Larimer, but he wanted to show support and sympathy for his friend.

“He’s a good friend and needs all the support he could get, especially at a time like this,” Kesner said.

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