The Starved Rock Country Community Foundation is honored to partner with the family of Karl Soliman, an outstanding young man who tragically passed away on December 1, 2018. As partners, the Community Foundation will manage financial contributions from caring individual and corporate donors to grow the Karl’s Krusaders Fund. Your contribution to the Fund will be used to improve athletic programs and equipment at local schools, and in time, fulfill the dream to create an indoor sports complex in the Mendota, Illinois community.
Making the MOST of life…Karl Michael Soliman, 12, of Mendota was taken home to Heaven on Dec. 1, 2018. He was born June 23, 2006, in Peoria to Shawn and Amy Matheis-Soliman, who knew he was special and unique from the day he was born, with his radiant red hair, beautiful blue eyes and charismatic smile. Growing up, Karl loved dinosaurs, Thomas the Train, and his many pets through the years — multiple fish, lizards, rats, hamsters, a gerbil, a cat and dogs, Emmy, and his favorite, Sandy. Karl was a dedicated student, always making high honor roll. He was a multi-sport athlete and star, a lover of the outdoors and all things in life. Karl started his athletic passion with soccer and played outdoor soccer for many years. He also enjoyed indoor soccer. He was the fastest one on the field. He enjoyed basketball at the Illinois Valley YMCA and then started playing for the Warriors at Holy Cross School in fifth grade. From day one, he was the core of the team and the point guard that pulled the team together, keeping everyone in the right mindset. Participating in track and field, Karl strived to jump farther and run faster in the long jump, 100-meter dash, 200-meter dash and 4×100 relay. His talent in golf took him to sectionals twice with his best friends. He loved playing baseball for Mendota Little League as well as the Tribe — the Holy Cross/Waltham/Dimmick Team. He loved running 5k races and filled his room with well-earned metals and ribbons. He loved participating in athletic training sessions and basketball camps, where he absorbed every new thing he learned. Karl spent summers swimming at the Mendota public pool, playing in the backyard, and riding his bike with his family and friends. He was a talented trombone player in the Mendota Northbrook Middle School band.
With his love of the outdoors, Karl spent many hours fishing with his family and friends and hunting with his dad. He loved playing Fortnite, Mario Kart, Super Smash Bros, Mario Party, and NBA 2K, going on road trips across the country with his family, especially trips to Wisconsin where days were filled with fun that included fishing, tubing, swimming, sledding, and ice skating. Karl loved going to all professional sport games, most often the Chicago Fire, Chicago Cubs and Chicago Bulls games. Karl did everything with determination, perseverance and passion. He was a mentor to so many young children, always watching out for them. His family prays that his passion and spirit continue to live on in the hearts of the many people he impacted during his short, but full, life.
He is survived by his parents, Shawn Soliman and Amy Matheis-Soliman; his siblings, Ryan, Lily and Elsie; paternal grandparents, Richard and Marguerite Soliman; maternal grandparents, David and Christine Matheis; and many loving aunts, uncles and cousins.
A special message from Karl’s dad, Shawn…Karl was an amazing kid and athlete and always gave 100%. He excelled in all sports but loved basketball above all. He put in so much practice and spent countless hours improving his game. He LOVED coming to see the Bulls play. He was the star point guard and the leader of his team, the Holy Cross Warriors. He was playing in a local tournament on December 1st, which happens to be my birthday. It was late in the game and his team was trailing by 7 points. Karl made a free throw and then made a quick three pointer to bring his team within 2 points. That is what Karl did on the court. He led his team physically, mentally and emotionally every game. As the coach of the team, I told them to quickly foul. We fouled with 18 seconds left and then Karl, my own son, collapsed right outside the three point line. Karl died doing what he loved more than anything and ironically, after making a three pointer. It was a packed gym with his friends, family, community, and 7 other teams in the tournament from his conference. He was surrounded by the people and the game he loved most. Karl was an amazing kid on and off the court. In the days since, the tributes to Karl we have received from so many, particularly on Facebook, have been truly remarkable. Karl touched more lives than we ever imagined.
During this sorrowful time we have established Karl’s Krusaders, an organization with a mission and vision to promote active lifestyles, provide education to prevent sudden cardiac death, and to encourage healthy well-being for everyone. We have many exciting events planned this year for children as well as adults in our community. As residents of Mendota, Illinois, a rural community, we recognize the need for such events since many local children have never had the opportunity to do these activities. We are putting our proceeds toward additional athletic opportunities for the area youth and upgrading athletic facilities at local schools and local leagues in our surrounding communities. Our dream is to build an indoor sports complex in our community, including basketball courts; soccer fields that will double as baseball/softball fields; multipurpose rooms; therapy and lap pool; an indoor track around the fields; and an auditorium. We will use this complex to encourage people of all ages to be active and stay healthy. We are blessed to live in an area of central Illinois with a rich history of generosity, and we believe this dream for Karl will come true.
Your contribution to the Karl’s Krusaders Fund can be made here. All donations are tax deductible in accordance with IRS regulations. For more information about the Fund, or to discuss your personal gift, please give us a call at 815-252-2906. We will be happy to help you make the dream for Karl come true.