‘A happy man’: Loved ones mourn Highland Park parade shooting victim Eduardo Uvaldo
Uvaldo, a father of four and grandfather of 16, was one of seven people shot and killed at Highland Park’s Fourth of July parade.
For nearly a week, images of chaos and fear have defined Highland Park.
But that’s not the image that will last for friends and relatives of Eduardo Uvaldo, who was among seven gunned down in the Fourth of July parade.
On Saturday, Uvaldo’s loved ones painted a picture of a family-oriented man who was most at peace when surrounded by his four children and 16 grandchildren.
“All the photos in there, there’s kids all around him,” relative Jesse Palacios said after leaving a private funeral service for Uvaldo at Waukegan’s Memorial Chapel. “A happy man — I don’t think I’ve ever seen him sad.”
One of Uvaldo’s grandsons spoke at the service, which was closed to media. “Everything in his life, he attributes to him,” said Palacios, who is related to Uvaldo’s brother through marriage and often spent time with Uvaldo at family events.
Following the service, mourners milled around outside, loading giant bouquets of white flowers into a hearse and preparing cars for the processional drive to Ascension cemetery in Libertyville, where Uvaldo, 69, was laid to rest.
The late family man was lovingly known as “Lalo” to his many relatives, according to Palacios’ sister, Ophelia Palacios.
His death left loved ones grappling with the weight of a deeply personal loss thrust into the national spotlight as the U.S. reels from yet another mass shooting. For many, like the Palacios siblings, that comes in the form of endless questions.
“This is what I can’t understand: how this keeps happening,” Jesse Palacios said.
Ophelia added: “I’m watching the news, and nobody can tell me what [the shooter’s] motive was. Why did he do it? What was running through his head?”
A visitation was followed by a prayer service Saturday afternoon, bringing dozens to the funeral home, including Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who has called for stricter gun laws in the wake of the shooting.
Throughout the morning, streams of people flowed into the funeral home: young women wearing black dresses and high heels, teen boys buttoned up in black dress shirts and slacks, little girls trotting toward the door in pink bows and long braids.
Loved ones walked toward the door solemnly, holding hands and rubbing each other’s backs. Some wiped away tears before even reaching the door to the funeral home.
The shooting has left Uvaldo’s family reeling in more ways than one. His wife of 50 years, Maria, and 13-year-old grandson, Brian Franco Hogan, were also shot at the parade and are recovering.
Three of Brian’s teachers at Learn Nine Charter School in Waukegan attended the service to show support.
“Brian is a spunky, enthusiastic and outgoing kid who loves life,” teacher Michael Miller said. “He loves his family… he loved spending time with his grandfather.”
Teachers Jennifer Handyside and Irma Whiteside assembled a care package for Brian, saying their school is like a family that looks out for one another.
“You can’t really find anything to comfort that, but any little thing to brighten his day,” Handyside said.
An online fundraiser for the family had pooled more than $100,000 by Saturday afternoon.
Services were held Friday for three of the other victims lost in the shooting: Stephen Straus, Jacquelyn Sundheim and Nicolas Toledo.
Services have not yet been announced for Katherine Goldstein or Irina and Kevin McCarthy.