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Son remembers Highland Park man, 88, killed at Fourth of July parade shooting

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CBS News Chicago Live

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Stephen Straus went to the Highland Park parade every year.

His son tells CBS 2's Charlie De Mar, that while life goes on, there's not a day that goes by he doesn't think about his father or that day.

"Loved ones can just disappear suddenly, but this was different, obviously."

It's that suddenness that has proven to be the hardest over the past 12 months for those who love Stephen Straus. Like his son Jon. 

"There isn't a day that goes by that I'm not dwelling on the fact that he was a victim of a horrible crime and our family was violated."

Jon spoke at his father's funeral days after the mass shooting, remembering dad as a quiet, gentle man and avid lover of the arts.

"Just thinking about what a good, giving loving person just makes the cruelty and horror of his death that much harder to take."

Straus, even at 88 years old, liked to be where the action was. And on July 4, 2022, the action was downtown Highland Park.

"He had a sense of humor that you noticed right away."

The stockbroker still commuted daily into the city and it was no surprise to Jon that his dad went to the parade.

"I was on social media that day and I heard somebody mention something about shots being fired at he parade," he said. "I described it once almost as being shot myself it was that shocking that agonizing." 

Of the seven victims Straus was the oldest. And while he lived a full life, Jon said his dad wasn't done living.  

"It's this open wound, scarring type of experience that you just have to process, you know?"

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