CHICAGO – A lightning alarm sounded in the O’Brien Park at Chicago’s northwest suburban of Downers Grove shortly before 17-year-old Filipino-American high school senior student Jeannie Dizon strolled around.
When the lightning struck in the park in the afternoon of last May 30, Jeannie was unable to seek cover in a building or a vehicle or dense woods.
A witness saw the lightning strike Jeannie who suddenly fell. The witness went to her succor but she was already unresponsive.
She was pronounced dead on the spot. A DuPage County Coroner’s report stated that her death was caused by “electrocution due to lightning strike.”
Jeannie Dizon, a resident of Downers Grove, is a daughter of Manila-native Eric Dizon and Marietta Bravante-Dizon, a native of Majayjay, Laguna, Philippines.
Jeannie was scheduled to graduate from high school on June 2, 2013 at the Benet Academy in nearby suburban Lisle. She had plans for a trip to Europe and a cotillion for her 18th birthday this month. She wanted to study theater at the University of Cincinnati.
Minutes before Dizon went to the park near 68th Street and Dunham Road in Downers Grove, she dropped off her younger brother, Michael, 14, and younger sister, Emmeline, 16, at a dentist’s clinic.
Emmeline said she kept dialing Jeannie’s cell phone so she could pick them up at the dentist’s clinic, but she did not return her call.
As they were walking home, Emmeline and Michael noticed ambulances in the park, but they had no idea something went wrong with their sister. Later, police knocked on their door to inform them of Jeannie’s tragic fate.
Dizon’s mother, Marietta, was still in shock when reached by phone by this reporter. She referred this reporter’s call to her husband, Eric Dizon.
Mr. Dizon, however, could not find words to describe his grief and gave the phone to his niece, Cheryl Filipak, a high school teacher at suburban Skokie.
Ms. Filipak said she last saw her cousin, Jeannie, alive last Christmas. She said Jeannie was a “wonderful, smart, beautiful girl. It is very tragic how she had left us but we are all here together and celebrating her memory.”
In a statement sent to media offices, Jeannie’s mother, Marietta, said, “Jennie is our angel. She has a golden heart. Whoever has met her, she has surely touched your heart. I think God had called her. We just have to place our whole trust in Him.”