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Sycamore boy’s friends, family honor his life

ROCHELLE – Matthew Ranken’s older brother will always remember the 11-year-old Sycamore boy swiping Snickers candy bars from their father’s lunch pail, and hiding under the bed to eat them.

The Rev. Bill Landis, senior pastor at Sycamore United Methodist Church, shared 14-year-old Aaron Ranken’s memory during Matthew Ranken’s funeral Monday, which was held at the First Presbyterian Church in Rochelle. Matthew Ranken, a fifth-grader at North Elementary School in Sycamore, died Wednesday after a car crash on Route 64 in Kane County.

“Matthew will be missed,” Landis said.

As family friends and classmates’ parents continued efforts to support the family, the crash remained under investigation Monday. The reconstruction efforts are expected to take weeks, said Kane County Sheriff’s Office
Lt. Pat Gengler.

Matthew Ranken was a passenger in the back seat of a 1999 Cavalier driven by his older brother, Nicholas Weber, 21, of Sycamore. The vehicle was stopped in traffic for an accident about a mile away, authorities said.

A 1999 Ford Expedition, driven by Benjamin Black, 28, of Sycamore, struck the rear of the Cavalier, injuring all three occupants, who were transported to Kishwaukee Community Hospital, according to the Kane County Sheriff’s Office. Matthew Ranken was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Black was cited for failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident and operating an uninsured vehicle.

At his funeral, Matthew Ranken was remembered for his warm smile, caring nature and love for football.

He and his brothers often would play football in the yard and inadvertently stomp all over their grandmother’s flower beds. Matthew Ranken would then talk his brothers and himself out of trouble.

“He still loved that game, and he loved his big brothers,” said Landis.

Christopher Weber, 18, Matthew’s older brother, remembers him as being a fast runner. Even when Christopher was on the high school track team, Matthew could still run faster than him, Landis said.

Nicholas Weber appreciated his younger brother’s thoughtfulness. He remembers Matthew always would knock before entering his bedroom. Landis said

Matthew lived much life in his 11 years, and he should be celebrated and remembered for that, Landis said.

“His life was brief,” Landis said. “But, he gave pleasure to those who knew and loved him.”

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