Northbrook mourns tragic loss of Billy Garrity, 17
William "Billy" Garrity
Updated: July 22, 2012 6:28AM
Northbrook is remembering a fun, adventurous boy who was full of promise before dying Thursday at his home.
William “Billy” Garrity, 17, would have been a senior this fall, said Glenbrook North Principal Paul Pryma.
“Billy had an exceptional academic mind. His personality was understated. He was solid and kind,” Pryma said.
“He was an earnest student and a team player of the highest degree. He served selflessly on the football field and in the student activities he was involved in.”
Garrity played on the Spartans all of the past three years. He also had been taking a leadership roll in Snowball, a drug and alcohol prevention program at school, Pryma said.
“I’m certain Billy was college-bound. The Garritys are a strong family who understand the value of education and have provided our community with exceptional support for years, he added.
Sandi Schleicher, Scout Master of Boy Scout Troop 67, who was an assistant scout master when Garrity was involved, called him a “fun-loving, adventurous kid.”
Schleicher recalled when he and the troop were at Camp Makajawan, which is in a forest near Pearson, in north-central Wisconsin.
Garrity had just come back from what is called “the wilderness overnight,” and was working on a wilderness survival merit badge, Schleicher said.
“I paid him one dollar to eat a worm, to have him to put into action what he had learned. And he couldn’t just swallow it, he had to chew it up,” he added.
“He was a trooper. He ate that worm and opened his mouth to show everybody that it was chewed, then gone. It is my fondest memory in scouting and a memory that I will cherish about Billy for a long, long time.”
Donna Hayes, another leader of the troop who filmed Garrity’s “survival meal,” said his passing was “a tragic loss.”
“Billy was such a happy kid, always smiling always friendly. He was also a smart kid and nice, as well as an athlete. What a loss!”
Billy leaves behind his parents, Maureen Folliard Garrity and William Garrity, and sisters Bridget, Molly and Katie, all Glenbrook North graduates.
He was the grandson of Helen and the late Leo Garrity, and the late Thomas and Mary Folliard, as well as the nephew and cousin of many.
Visitation was from 4 to 8 p.m. Monday at Donnellan Family Funeral Home, 10045 Skokie Blvd. at Old Orchard Road, Skokie. A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Tuesday at St. Norbert Church, 1809 Walters Ave. Northbrook.
Interment will be private at Sacred Heart Cemetery in Northbrook. In Billy’s memory, the family wishes those who knew him to extend an act of kindness to one another.