Decatur, Illinois

Decatur, Illinois
Curve-In, Fairview Avenue

Saturday, May 1, 2010


Murder is a harsh reality of being a human being. It is unbelievable and it is believable.

Murder occurs everyday in America. But it should not, we all feel, because we are civilized, so the thinking goes.

Yet, here we are, members of the graduating class of 1965, and why should we have thought we would be untouched by murder.

Still, when I heard from a classmate that one of the deceased people about whom I was doing research, had been killed, I was taken aback. Sure, in a class of over 350 people, who today are 62 or 63, you'd expect some would have passed away, sadly. These people were gone, I was finding, from accidents, from cancer, and even from Vietnam. But murder?

Statistically, yes, it made sense. But in my heart, in the realm of "this couldn't happen to anyone I went to high school with," no, I didn't want to think murder visited so closely to people with whom I had spent four years of my life.

But it had.

"Murder is unique in that it abolishes the party it injures, so that society has to take the place of the victim and on his [her] behalf demand atonement or grant forgiveness; it is the one crime in which society has a direct interest." ~ W. H. Auden (1907-1973, English-born poet and man of letters).

We all knew her as Mary Ann DeCrevel. Her smile still stares out from the 1965 Cadet, topped by the high-hair style that was beginning to fade, but which you could imagine her mother might have made her wear for her senior picture.

Mary Ann had been born on Flag Day, June 14, 1947. Her mother, Mary T. Stewart DeCrevel, lived long after she had to bury her daughter. Mrs. DeCrevel was born on March 14, 1923, and died September 25, 2003. As it turned out, Mary Ann's body was found near her mother's home.

When Mary Ann passed away, the newspaper called her Mrs. Kerry Kuster, 42, of Decatur. She was murdered on Monday, November 13, 1989, in Decatur. At the time, Mary Ann was a secretary for Decatur Blue Print Company. She had been married to Kerry Kuster since 1965. The Kusters had two sons and a daughter. Mary Ann had a sister, and two grandchildren, when she died. Her father passed away before her, in 1987.

The details of Mary Ann's death are not pretty. She allegedly had broken up with her husband and was dating another man. She had gone to the man's grandfather's house to meet this new guy. Reportedly, there the grandfather stabbed the sweet classmate we knew as Mary Ann DeCrevel multiple times. When dead, she was then put into the trunk of her own car. Later, she would be discovered a few blocks from the house of her mother.

I struggled with how to share this, and decided, reality is not always beautiful. There is no sugar-coating murder. It is awful, disturbing, and yet it occurs.

I am shocked and saddened for Mary Ann, and those she has left behind.

The graduating class has many stories to tell. This is one of them. Most will be ones, of course, with happy endings, like we enjoy in our stories.

But life and death do happen, and sometimes we cannot pick the last chapter.

"Murder is terribly exhausting." ~ Albert Camus (1913-1960, French novelist, essayist and playwright, 1957 Nobel Prize for Literature).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nicely carefully kindly and sensitively written. A respectful homage to a classmate gone to soon!