Funeral services for slain former Proviso East High School alum DaShamone “Spuddy” McCarty took place Friday, May 24 at Rock of Ages Church in Maywood.
The Dakota College scholarship student was fatally shot in Maywood on May 16, a week after returning home for the summer after his freshman year. McCarty, a student athlete at Proviso and in college, was buried in Forest Home cemetery in Forest Park.
A somber crowd of mostly young people filled Rock of Ages. Attendees included members of the Proviso East basketball team, in uniform, and teammates from the 2012 squad that lost the Class 4A state championship to Chicago’s Simeon High School in March, 2012 by two points.
“Spuddy was one of those kids that let me know I was doing the right thing,” said Proviso Head Coach Donnie Boyce, speaking emotionally about his 2012 team co-captain. Boyce said he had chosen to return to coach for Proviso to “help kids from my community.”
“Spuddy came up that first week and told me ‘Thank you,’ and we hadn’t even started the season yet.
“It’s difficult to deal with this,” Boyce added, “to lose somebody you know had that ‘it’ factor.”
Boyce recalled McCarty thanking him again when the team lost the state championship by a shot. “He said, ‘thanks for giving me the opportunity to play,'” Boyce said.
McCarty’s blue basketball and white football jerseys, both with No. 11, flanked his coffin at the front of the church. He was referred to in school as DeShawn McCarthy. At Proviso, he lettered in track, football and basketball.
According to his obituary, McCarty was born inOak Park, the sixth child of his mother. He was raised as a child by his great-grandmother and his aunt, but in high school he lived with the family of a best friend and teammate, Ryan Jones.
Paris Burns, a basketball teammate at Proviso, spoke of McCarty’s “hunger and ambition.” Flanked by other teammates, Burns said the two had decided to, “chase our dreams no matter what. It’s not right to see him here.”
McCarty attended Dakota College in Bottineau, N.D. where he played both basketball and football. His basketball coach from Dakota, Cory Fehringer, also spoke at his funeral.
Boyce noted that McCarty had challenges and overcame them. “He was a hard worker. You can’t let failure be part of your equation. You’ve got to be accountable and responsible and Spuddy was that,” Boyce said.
McCarty’s uncle, Richard Flowers, told students in the crowd that McCarty should serve as inspiration.
“There’s nothing good about this situation. But if we choose to respond to it right, God will make this all good,” Flowers said. “His life is not going to go down in vain. There’s something in the atmosphere in this room that says, ‘you want to be a difference maker;’ my question for you is, how bad to you want it?”
Although Proviso Township District High School 209 had no official comment about McCarty’s death, also refusing a request to hold the funeral lunch at Proviso East, the funeral was attended by Proviso staff, including East Principal Tony Valente.
After the service, students, family and friends filed past McCarty’s open coffin decorated with photos and an image of the Proviso Pirate mascot.
Around 100 cars proceeded to Forest Home, where mourners brought helium balloons to release into the air.