In Memoriam: Kurt Hanson

This morning Andrew sent me an email with no subject line or content except a link to following Chicago Sun Times report:

Man fatally struck by Metra train identified

April 11, 2008

FROM STNG WIRE REPORTS
WHEATON — A male pedestrian who was fatally struck by a Metra train in west suburban Wheaton Thursday afternoon has been identified.

Killed was Kurt Hanson, an adult of an unidentified address, according to a spokesman for the DuPage County Coroner’s office. Hanson was pronounced dead on the scene at 1:01 p.m. Thursday at the Union Pacific railroad tracks near Chase Avenue in Wheaton, according to the spokesman.

The man identified by the coroner’s office as Hanson was struck by a train about 12:30 p.m. at Chase Street on the Union Pacific Railroad, according to Wheaton Police Deputy Chief Tom Meloni.

“At this point, it remains under investigation whether or not his death was accidental,” Meloni said Thursday.

A westbound Metra train struck the man, according to a Wheaton police release.

Two westbound Metra trains were delayed after a body was found on the tracks near west suburban Wheaton, according to Metra spokesman Tom Miller.

The Metra is the commuter train that we used to ride into Chicago from Wheaton College when we were students there, and Kurt was Andrew’s high school friend who hang out with us fairly often because he lived in the area. He became a fixture in our group, the guys who lived together our senior year, even after we went our separate ways and only gathered for the occasional reunion.

kurtKurt had a way of floating in and out of our lives, showing up unexpectedly to just hang out, whether in our dorm rooms, in my apartment in Chicago after graduating, at Andrew’s 30th birthday in New Haven. Last time I hung out was in Chicago about a year and a half ago when we went to Moody’s for dinner and Heartland Cafe, near where I used to live in Roger’s park.

Though I didn’t know Kurt well, it seemed that his life often was difficult, burdened as he was with mental illness. We feared we  might hear news like this someday, but he had a remarkable resliency that gave us hope that he would always reappear. I’m haunted by seeing his name and his cause of death stated in such a distanced, impersonal tone, and I now realize that I’ve gotten used to wondering, however subconsiously, when Kurt would drift in to my life again. Tragically, this time he floated too far from us, and now that he won’t be able to show up again, I am diminished,

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