LIFE STORIES: Basketball bookends Vietnam vet's story
Life Stories

LIFE STORIES: Basketball bookends Vietnam vet's story

The eldest of four siblings -- one year older than his sister who didn't play much and five years older than his brother -- Jim Duvendack spent hours shooting hoops by himself at his family's rural Brown County home.

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LIFE STORIES: Former school principal finds second calling in nonprofit
Life Stories

LIFE STORIES: Former school principal finds second calling in nonprofit

Pat Heinecke's first few months as director of the Community for Christ Assistance Center in Camp Point have been chaotic. The center has a thrift store, food pantry and offers emergency rent and utility assistance. Heinecke - a retired school administer - oversees all of it.

LIFE STORIES: Physician finds peace in Cook County ER, and now Quincy
Life Stories

LIFE STORIES: Physician finds peace in Cook County ER, and now Quincy

Physician Sumul Gandhi breaks the mold of the high-pressure profession. The 35-year-old dermatologist at Quincy Medical Group was valedictorian of his high school class, earned three masters degrees simultaneously and, for a long time, was anything but relaxed.

LIFE STORIES: St. Francis teacher finds a cause from son's cancer
Life Stories

LIFE STORIES: St. Francis teacher finds a cause from son's cancer

Sitting with her son while he received chemotherapy, Maureen Makarewicz had a realization.

LIFE STORIES: Mom comes back from homelessness after toddler's death
Life Stories

LIFE STORIES: Mom comes back from homelessness after toddler's death

Kim Straube, 57, has spent almost 30 years trying to claw her way back to where she was before the death of one of her sons. "This is where I catch myself wanting to make excuses. It's nobody's fault but my own," she said. "I remember drinking to stop seeing my son's death. For a long time I would wake up and have the vision of his little body in his casket."

LIFE STORIES: Preston's written words chronicle his journey
Life Stories

LIFE STORIES: Preston's written words chronicle his journey

When his 11 grandchildren were younger, Dwain "Doc" Preston would write each one a personal book as a present. Years later, he estimates there are around 150 books he has written accumulated in four households around the country.

LIFE STORIES: Medium says she has helped 100 ghosts 'cross over'
Life Stories

LIFE STORIES: Medium says she has helped 100 ghosts 'cross over'

Kae Blecha is trained in occupational therapy, plays viola with the Quincy Symphony Orchestra ... and considers herself a medium with the ability to speak to the dead. WITH VIDEO.

LIFE STORIES: Model T collection keeps retired engineer young
Life Stories

LIFE STORIES: Model T collection keeps retired engineer young

Machines are an art form for Elvin Townsend. The 85-year-old's garages are a testament to his mechanical inclinations. He has several Model Ts -- eight antique vehicles in total -- from the early 1900s, most of which he either built or restored by himself.

LIFE STORIES: Retired two-star general says 'the military is a young man's game'
Life Stories

LIFE STORIES: Retired two-star general says 'the military is a young man's game'

From behind the desk of his second floor office at First Bankers Trust Co., Scott Thoele looks to be far removed from the life of danger and tough decisions he once led. Maj. Gen. Thoele, 59, retired from a 35-year military career in September 2015 and settled in as internal audit manager at First Bankers Trust. He held on to the buzz cut.

LIFE STORIES: Good Sam residents give activities aide insight into aging
Life Stories

LIFE STORIES: Good Sam residents give activities aide insight into aging

Sporting a massive 2-year-old afro, bright green shoes and a quartz crystal dangling from his neck, Joe Ware doesn't exactly blend in while on the job at Good Samaritan Home. The 21-year-old Quincy native has worked at Good Sam since he was 16. "It seems like people open up to me, and they eventually lead off to some of their personal stories, as a friend almost," he said.