Originally published Jan. 10, 1993
Thomas Mennes had overcome a number of sorrows over the years, including the death of one brother to a heart attack and the death of his mother to cancer.
On Friday, the death of Thomas Mennes, a man described by his brother as a "happy-go-lucky guy," became another source of sorrow for his family. Mennes, a 32-year-old Palatine man who worked hard all his life at several restaurant and construction jobs in the area, was among those found dead Saturday in a fast-food chicken restaurant in Palatine.
Mennes, who was single and lived with a twin brother in Palatine, had worked at Brown's Chicken & Pasta for the past several months mixing batters, said Mennes' stepmother, Frances.
"He was a quiet young man that kept to himself quite a bit," said Frances Mennes, who lives with the victim's father on South Ashland Avenue in Palatine.
Mennes, the youngest of six brothers, had worked at a number of other suburban restaurants before coming to work several months ago at the Brown's restaurant in Palatine, relatives said. He also worked intermittently at construction jobs.
Bob Mennes said his brother loved to be outdoors. "He liked fishing, boating, anything outdoors," Bob said, adding, "He's friendly with everyone he meets."
"He was kind of a simple guy. He used to ride his bike to work," said Julie Balabuszko of Palatine, a neighbor of the Mennes family, who recalled seeing Mennes at Dominick's Finer Foods in Palatine, where Mennes had worked.
"He was always friendly and polite to us," Balabuszko said. "I'm just in shock right now. I'm very sad to hear this."