GALESBURG — Twenty-four years after finishing second in the Class AA men’s basketball tournament, the 1997-98 Galesburg Silver Streaks suffered their toughest defeat.
Patrick Hanlon, the team’s sixth man and one-time starter, died in Chicago on December 29, the first member of the legendary team to die.
Obituary:Patrick Hanlon: 1980-2021
Hanlon, 41, a talented athlete in three sports, was a popular and fun member, also well known for his talents as a musician, dancer and actor.
“He was one of the most talented people I’ve ever known,” the eldest Patrick said. brother Sean.
“He was smart, athletic, musical and he had charisma. It’s a combination that few people have.
“I was devastated when I heard the news,” said Mike Miller, Hanlon’s coach with the Streaks.
“He brought a smile to every room he walked in. He radiated a kind of positive energy no matter what he was doing.
The news of Hanlon’s death shocked and saddened his ex-teammates, friends and even those who only knew him by chance.
“It’s still fresh and it still hurts,” said Joey Range, the star of the 1997-98 team and one of Hanlon’s closest friends.
“I don’t like to talk about it too much.”
Although he returned to Galesburg to celebrate Christmas with family members, the details of Hanlon’s death in Chicago are not yet clear.
A private celebration of life was held Monday at Watson Thomas Funeral Home and the family is planning a public celebration of life for July 23 at the Lake Storey Pavilion.
Looking back:For 1998 Streaks, the memories live on
Hanlon, football quarterback and pitcher for the Streaks and Legion Post 285 baseball team, was invaluable for a 30-3 basketball team led by Range and starters Rod Thompson, Steve Glasgow, Taylor Thiel and Mike Tapper.
“Obviously he was key,” Miller said. “Pat and Mike Tapper could play big and play guard and his flexibility gave us a lot of options on this team.”
But the atmosphere created by Hanlon’s sense of humor and fun also created an important mood for this season.
“It’s weird but when he was getting dressed in the locker room, he always put his shoes on,” recalled Thiel, also his baseball catcher.
“That’s why I always came late,” Miller said.
“He took his guitar to see Jason Wessels in the hospital,” Sean Hanlon recalled of his brother’s teammate who fell seriously ill during the season.
“He played him Adam Sandler’s song ‘Happy Hanukkah’ and made him laugh when he really needed it.”
After high school, Hanlon attended Wesleyan University in Illinois where he eventually lodged with his brother.
“He was my best friend,” said Sean, a star athlete during his GHS days.
“We were close in age but we were still friendly to each other. It was mutual admiration.
“I always admired the things he could do that I couldn’t do.”
Patrick Hanlon expressed his musical side after leaving college, singing in a rock band and later performing in a Chicago production of “Tony and Tina’s Wedding” where he appeared with Frankie Avalon.
A former teammate and longtime friend helped guide Hanlon to his eventual career.
He always lit up the room no matter where he was,” said Tapper, general manager of Bruce Foote Chevrolet in Monmouth.
“I told him you were perfect for selling cars. You can talk to anyone, you can befriend anyone.
Hanlon’s passing left a hole in many lives, especially his parents John and Ruth Anne, his brothers Sean and Michael, and his sons Jack and Brian.
But his brother Sean found a connection in a song they both admired shortly after his passing in the lyrics to Prince’s “Purple Rain.”
The song opens with “I never meant to cause you pain, I never meant to cause you pain.
“I only wanted to see you laugh once.
“I just want to see you laughing in the purple rain.”
Sean said: “It hit me incredibly hard.
“It felt like Patrick was saying the words to me, mom and dad, Michael and Jack and Brian and everyone who loved him dearly.
He added: “He never wanted to cause pain, whether it was sports or music.
“He just wanted to entertain.”