April 21, 2007
Travis Marmion's family, from left, sister Tamara Marmion, brother Seth Marmion, father Shawn Marmion, mother Karen Marmion, sister Danielle Derby and brother Caleb Marmion, help plant a tree in West Side Park on Saturday in Travis' memory.
May 7, 1980
May 18, 2006
Travis Marmion
CHAMPAIGN - Travis William Marmion, 26, of Champaign died at 12:47 a.m. Thursday (May 18, 2006) at Carle Foundation Hospital, Urbana.
Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. Tuesday at Morgan Memorial Home, 1304 Regency Drive West, Savoy. The Rev. John Sims will officiate. Burial will be at a later date.
Visitation will be from 4 to 7 p.m. Monday at the funeral home.
Mr. Marmion was born May 7, 1980, in Urbana, a son of Shawn K. and Karen A. Whalen Marmion.
Survivors include his parents of Champaign; his paternal grandparents, Michael and Jenice Marmion of Venice, Fla.; his maternal grandparents, Bill and Shirley Whalen of Champaign; two brothers, Seth Marmion and Caleb Marmion, both of Champaign; and two sisters, Danielle Derby and Tamara Marmion, both of Champaign.
Mr. Marmion graduated from Champaign Central High School in 1999. He was a drywall hanger for BJ Interiors. He enjoyed fishing, weight lifting and dogs.
Memorials may be made to Champaign County Humane Society, 1911 E. Main St., U.
Dear Family;
Yesterday was the dedication of a White  Oak  tree (hope I have that right) at West Side Park in memory of Travis.  It was an absolutely beautiful, perfect day to be outdoors. Sunny but not hot.  When Shawn spoke before they planted the tree he said that Travis was born on a day just like yesterday and he died on a day when the weather had been like that also, so it seemed fitting that the weather was again sunny and beautiful for his dedication.
The newspaper article doesn't mention that Shawn also wrote and sang a truly beautiful, moving song about Travis which he sang yesterday for everyone.  He also graciously allowed me to harmonize with him on the chorus's.  If anyone would like the lyrics I'll be happy to send them to you.
Damian  (Shawn's brother) also did a beautiful job accompanying me on his 12 string and I sang, "On The Wings Of An Angel".  I MISS being able to play guitar.  But I'm lucky to have Damian to back me up!
It was a really nice dedication and a LOT of people showed up.  I think it was 100 or more.  Travis was so beloved by so many, even though he was on this earth for far too short of a time. 
Shawn and Karen also had a basket with yellow and blue bows for those who wanted to tie them on the tree after it was planted.  And they also gave out packets of two different kinds of flower seeds. Moon flowers, which were Travis's favorite and which they had just helped him to plant by his house last spring, and also sunflowers.  As Shawn said, for those who planted both they'd have flowers anytime of the day, night or day!  I'm going to plant mine but I may need a little intervention from Travis to help them grow since I've always had a black thumb when it comes to plants!
I am sending you the article which was in this mornings paper.  I had to scan it in two parts.  I hope you all can see and read it ok.

Love to all,
'Say not in grief 'he is no more' but live in thankfulness that he was'
Hebrew proverb
CHAMPAIGN Shawn Marmion relished preparing and filing his son's income tax return. It wasn't because he was expecting a whopping refund.

"When I folded up the form, I did it so slowly. That was the strangest feeling. I realized that as his dad, this is one of the last physical things I got to do for him," said Shawn Marmion. "It was a hard moment, but I treasured it."

Last May 18, Travis Marmion died after being shot in the chest during what was described as a wrestling match with an Urbana man who was at a party in the house across Ells Avenue in Champaign from where Travis lived. Travis was 26 years old.

The man who killed him, Leo Robinson, 21, of Urbana, pleaded guilty in August to aggravated discharge of a firearm and is serving a 50-month prison sentence.

The ensuing 11 months have been hellish for Travis' immediate family, which includes his parents, Shawn, 47, a lieutenant with the Champaign Fire Department, and Karen, 44, a nurse at the Carle Cancer Center. Travis also left behind two brothers and two sisters ranging in age from 24 to 18.

"The kids were so close," Karen said. "They were not only brothers and sisters; they were all best friends."

Added Shawn: "He was their leader, the person they went to when they needed direction."

For several weeks last spring, Shawn and Travis were planning a June fishing trip to Canada. Shawn called that trip, which Travis didn't get to make, a gift because of the many hours they spent together anticipating it. He even talked to his son by phone at the party where he was killed about going to Big R in Danville the next day to buy more fishing equipment.

"I got those phone records. We talked 36 minutes. That's the longest conversation I'd had that month with anybody," said Shawn, overwhelmed with gratitude for that chance.

The Marmions later learned that their son's cell phone was stolen that night. It was not among his personal belongings that police released to them 90 days after Robinson's case was closed. They hoped to get it to retrieve videos their son had taken.

For several months after his death, the family displayed signs on the white picket fence in front of Travis' house at 303 Ells Ave. that faced the home where he was shot. The signs called Travis a loving son, grandson and brother. They proclaimed how much his family and friends missed him.

Travis, who was single and a drywaller by trade, had lived in his small house about 11 months. It was his first home purchase.

"He lived with us while he was saving up to buy it," Karen said. "He was real excited. He would call me and ask what kind of vacuum should he get."

Karen Marmion was intimately familiar with the neighborhood. She grew up next door in the house that her parents, Shirley and Bill Whalen, have lived in almost 52 years. It was to their home that Shawn and Karen brought their first-born in May 1980 on their way home from the hospital after his birth. Early in their 27-year marriage, Shawn and Karen lived a block away on Avondale.

After Travis' death, his house sat empty for several months.

"We weren't able to even move Travis' stuff out for quite a while. We decided to go do it one time. Everything was just like he had left it. I took the sheets off his bed. I just broke down. I couldn't do it. We put them back on, and it was quite a while before we actually moved (his belongings)," Karen said.

In December, the Marmions rented the house to their nephew and his fiance. Travis was very close to his cousin and was supposed to be in his wedding.

"We're happy they're there," Shawn said. "We wanted to keep it in the family."

Besides the house, Travis' only other major possessions, his parents said, were his car and his dog. Brother Seth, 23, is driving the car. And Polo, Travis' pit bull, is now entrenched in the elder Marmions' Champaign home.

"He was Travis' pride and joy," Karen said. "We debated about getting rid of him. It just never worked out."

Shawn said Polo's personality is a reflection of their son's warm, friendly demeanor.

"We love him. We walk him every day. If we can't have Travis, it's nice to have the dog," he said.

Given Travis' love of dogs, the Marmions designated the Champaign County Humane Society as a memorial. Although they never learned how much was donated in their son's name, the director informed them it might have been a record amount. They've made donations to other charities in his name, too.

On Saturday, the Marmions, their extended family and more than 100 friends gathered in West Side Park in Champaign under blue, sunny skies to plant a white oak tree in his name that could live as long as 200 years. The idea came from Shawn's parents.

"It's a living memorial. It can grow to 80 to 100 feet tall. It is near the playground and the police and fire memorial. That's where me and little Shawn go to play," Shawn said of his namesake grandson, who recently got a little brother named River Travis after his late uncle.

"That's the thing that can keep him alive in our hearts. I plan on being there every day. We walk the dog past that place. West Side Park is just a couple hundred yards from our house," he said.

Shawn and Karen Marmion said they've been moved by the many notes and comments they've received, telling them how Travis touched others' lives things they didn't know about.

Those comments, along with regular attendance at a grief support group at Provena Covenant Medical Center, have been a great help. They lament that there are few similar outlets for their adult children, who are equally grief-stricken.

"This has actually brought our family closer together," Shawn said. "I've always thought our children were a precious gift, but now I think our children are so much more precious."

Karen said she can't help but worry about her remaining children but has put her trust in God.

"It's kind of scary. There's no guarantee that just because we've lost one, it couldn't happen again."
from The News Gazette, CHAMPAIGN, IL
Parents remember son for his ability to bring family together, By Mary Schenk, Sunday April 22, 2007
picture by Damian Marmion
  MFT                                                                                                                 www.marmionfamilytree.com