A family saddened by the removal of the memorial

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) – A Rockford couple are saddened after someone has repeatedly removed their memorial.

“It was pretty awful, but it was even worse than losing it all together,” said Aida White.

Aida and William White have created a memorial in honor of their son Willie, who died on March 26, 2016 at the age of 37 after being struck by a suspected drunk driver near Fincham Dr. and S. Trainer Rd. In Rockford. Perry Johnston of Rockford faces multiple charges for his role in the incident, such as reckless homicide.

The White family made the memorial at the site where their son has taken his final steps since his death. They fill the memorial with flowers, lights and crosses. Someone has removed their memorial several times, but on June 25, 2021, the memorial was gone with the following note printed:

“We are sorry for your loss, but this is not a graveyard. We have respectfully allowed your loved one’s display to remain here for approximately 2-3 years. Thank you for visiting him at his resting place in the cemetery. We will continue to remove all items displayed here.

” I could not believe it. Family and friends would call and say “Aida, the memorial is gone again”. and then when I saw this letter, I just couldn’t believe someone would have the audacity to write it down and leave it there, ”Aida White said.

The Town of Rockford does not allow memorials on public rights-of-way and will be removing the items. The City will keep them for 30 days so that their owner can recover them. Aida White says any retired items her family will replace, no matter how long it takes.

“They can take it apart 50 million times, we’ll put it back together 50 million times.”

Aida and William plan to organize a vigil for their friends and family in honor of Willie. No specific date has been set.

Copyright 2021 WIFR. All rights reserved.

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