McHenry man, Bears players hold fundraiser for family of slain fan

Fundraising that in less than a week has produced more than $50,000 for the family of a Chicago Bears fan slain in Jacksonville, Fla., will culminate tonight at a Wrigleyville event featuring several Bears players.

William Pettry, 42, of Lake Villa, died early Sunday after he was stabbed in the neck at a bar in Jacksonville, where he was to attend the Bears-Jaguars game. His wife, Karen Hunt Pettry, is a stay-at-home mom with three children.

The fundraiser runs from 5 to 9 p.m. at John Barleycorn, 3524 N. Clark St., Chicago. Attendees will be asked for donations at the door.

The efforts of Bears tight end Kellen Davis and Wayne Jett of McHenry, who owns Sideline Marketing, have garnered national attention and brought in checks from all over the country, Jett said.

Davis, former defensive tackle Tommie Harris, fullback Jason McKie and guard Chris Spencer are among Bears players scheduled to attend.

“I just got a call about five minutes ago with a $5,000 donation,” Jett said Friday morning. “Right now, it’s all going to the family. It’s going to tuition. It’s going to a trust where they can use it for a mortgage payment. This will end up taking care of the family for life.”

The family was planning a smaller get-together a couple of days ago to celebrate Pettry’s life when the fundraiser blossomed, Jett said. A friend of the family contacted Jett, who has put together other charity events involving Bears players, and asked that he head up efforts to help Pettry’s family.

“Let’s go ahead and make this big,” Jett said he told Pettry’s mother and sister. “Let’s still celebrate his life, but let’s make it so that you can get taken care of and don’t have to worry again about money.”

Jett said it’s been hectic throwing together an event in half of a week, but the response from the public has made things easier.

“So many people want to help,” he said.

A suspect in the Pettry’s killing, Matthew Hinson, 27, was arrested shortly after the stabbing. He has been charged with murder.

If you go

William Pettry fundraiser
What: A fundraiser to benefit the family of William Pettry
When: 5 to 9 p.m. today
Where: John Barleycorn, 3524 N. Clark St., Chicago
Cost: Attendees will be asked for donations at the door

Those who aren’t able to attend the event can donate to William Pettry’s family by visiting www.sidelinemarketingltd.com.

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