Alex Joseph Polaski, 18, passed away on August 13, 2008, at Ivinson Memorial Hospital in Laramie, Wyoming, after a brief bout with a stomach virus that developed into pneumonia.
Alex was born in Chicago at Northwestern Hospital on November 17, 1989, and grew up in Oak Park in the Gunderson Historic District. He attended kindergarten and grades 1 through 4 at Ascension School, transferred to Beye School for 5th and 6th grades and then went on to the new Percy Julian Middle School for 7th and 8th grades, graduating in 2004.
While at Beye and Percy Julian, Alex studied clarinet. He played baseball in the Mustang and Bronco leagues during the summer, soccer in the fall and ice hockey during the winters. Alex was also a member of the Cub Scouts while at Ascension and later was in Troop 16 with the Boy Scouts, with which he attended camp-outs at Camp Shin-Go-Beek, explored the Mammoth Caves, and climbed Mt. Rainer during the summer of 2004. He spent time in the summers in Philadelphia where his grandparents lived, often vacationing at Ocean City, New Jersey.
Alex attended Oak Park River Forest High School where his interest in clarinet and saxophone led to his playing in the marching band under the direction of Mr. Scotty Jones. Alex played with the band at the Peach Bowl in 2006. He became known to his friends as "AJ" to some and "Cracker" to others.
Alex developed an interest in cars early in life and it led to his desire to attend Wyotech in Laramie, Wyoming years before his graduation from OPRF in 2008. Before learning to drive, Alex had developed an interest in RC electric and gas cars, racing them at Hobbytown before its closing and at a track in DeKalb, Illinois. He also had a tremendous interest in modern bands and "techno" music, collecting hundreds of CDs and other tunes on his iPod.
Alex had developed a close group of friends, all of whom valued his friendship as part of many close two-way friendships. Many of his friends and some of their parents considered him a great influence in their lives with his ever-present sharp wit, easy infectious smile and willingness to help wherever he was needed.
Upon graduation from OPRF, Alex reached his goal and began attending Wyotech in Laramie, Wyoming in July 2008 after a 12 day European trip that took him to London, Paris and Berlin with his parents. Once at Wyotech, he had begun to take the basic automotive courses until the illness struck him.
All through his short life Alex was known for his passion in all things he did, and he never lost his child-like exuberance and twinkle in his eye. He lived his life dancing on the white lines at the edge of the road and looking like a multi-colored skyrocket along the way! Alex is survived by his parents, Jim and Anne Polaski of Oak Park, and his grandmother, Marjorie Spencer of Westchester, and by his many friends.
Visitation will be at Drechsler Brown and Williams Funeral Home, 203 S. Marion, Oak Park, on Thursday, August 21, from 2-9 pm and the Funeral Mass will be held at Ascension Church, 815 S. East Avenue, Oak Park, on Friday August 22 at 10 am. Interment will be private.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the American Lung Association.
Alex's friends have created a Facebook memorial group on which you may write a message.
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