Charles â€œSkipâ€ Mennerick, III, 29, of Elburn, died suddenly and tragically while doing what he loved, fixing cars at his home Friday morning, Oct. 23, 2009.
He was born Dec. 23, 1979, at Delnor Hospital in St. Charles.
He grew up in St. Charles, and attended local schools.
He graduated from St. Charles High School in 1998. Skip then attended Waubonsee Community College, where he graduated with an associates degree in small business creation and management, as well as certificates in small engines and welding.
Skip met his sweetheart Erika Houtz during high school while on a church canoe trip to Canada. They both knew in an instant that they had found something that was one in a million. Two strong independent people found the matching pieces of each otherâ€™s soul, defied the odds and were later married on July 21, 2001, at Rejoice Lutheran Church in Geneva,.
They began their new life together in Maple Park for a time before moving into Erikaâ€™s childhood home in Elburn.
Shortly after meeting Erika in high school, Skip began working for R. F. Houtz & Son, Inc., the Cub Cadet Tractor dealership in Elburn. He started out sweeping floors and cleaning mower decks, but gained confidence and skills over the years working alongside Rob Houtz, Erikaâ€™s father.
Skipâ€™s work ethic and determination, as well as his attention to detail and the ability to do anything he put his mind to, proved his worth as not only an employee, but as one with the skills to guide the companyâ€™s future. Over the 13 years that he had worked there, Skip put his heart and soul into the business to make it successful and recently accepted the reigns to oversee all aspects of its operation.
Buying a building on North Street in 2008 and completing its renovation was fulfilling a dream for him and helped spur R. F. Houtz & Son, Inc. to be recognized as one of the top five Cub Cadet retailers in the nation in 2009. He enjoyed the challenge of management and was an amazing judge of character. When it came to his employees, he saw the best in people and encouraged them to find it in themselves. He was honored to be a part of the businessâ€™s 75th anniversary this year.
Skip was proud of all his accomplishments in life, including rising to the rank of Eagle Scout in 1997.
Skip loved building engines and muscle cars. He researched parts extensively and was determined to find exactly what he needed. On one occasion while looking for a Lanotti cam, he called the company and kept asking questions until he had Mr. Lanotti himself on the phone. He was known for doing things that everyone said couldnâ€™t be done, like build a 1998 Firebird with a 454 blower motor. There was no such thing as â€œstockâ€ in Skipâ€™s life. Even an â€œoil changeâ€ could include a new computer chip and custom exhaust.
He would go out of his way to help his friends and family. He always put others before himself. He was so proud of his children and was a very involved dad, taking them for rides on tractors, forklifts and many other machines that would bring the biggest smiles and the loudest laughs.
He now leaves his loving and devoted wife, Erika; his son, Cole and daughter, Kiera; his parents, Chuck and Sharon Mennerick of St. Charles; three siblings, Jeanni (Chris) Bonine of Kirkland, and Kevin Mennerick and Katie Mennerick, both of St. Charles; grandparents, Marge Mennerick of St. Charles, Marilyn and Fred Sullivano of St. Charles, and Lois Stoos of Lawndale, S.C.; several aunts and uncles, Cheryl Mennerick of St. Charles, Tom (Regan) Jancauskas of St. Charles, Ed (Janet) Jancauskas of Batavia; mother and father-in-law, Robert and Laura Houtz of Elburn; brother-in-law, Carl Houtz of Chicago, along with many other extended family and friends.
He now joins his grandmother, Norma Clark; and grandfather, Thomas Hendry, who preceded him in death
Visitation will be from 2 to 8 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 29, 2009, at Conley Funeral Home, 116 W. Pierce St., Elburn, IL 60119. A funeral service to celebrate his life will be held at Rejoice Lutheran Church, 0N377 N. Mill Creek Dr., Geneva, at 11 a.m. Friday, Oct. 30, 2009. The Rev. Lou Quetel, pastor of the church, will officiate. Private family interment will follow cremation at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, a memorial has been established in his name to benefit his childrenâ€™s education. Checks may be made to the â€œSkip Mennerick Memorialâ€ and mailed in care of P.O. Box 66, Elburn, 60119. Tributes may also be forwarded to the same address or on the web at www.conleycare.com.