Iraq War veteran from Lemont killed in crash hours before college graduation
By Kim Geiger | Chicago Tribune | Published: May 19, 2014
Paul Davidson III was just hours away from receiving his degree in architecture from the University of Illinois when he was killed Friday night in a traffic accident.
Davidson, 30, originally of Lemont, was riding his motorcycle down an Urbana street when he was struck by a car and killed, according to police reports.
He was on his way to have his hair cut before his Saturday graduation ceremony, said his mother, Corinne Davidson.
An Iraq War veteran and motorcycle enthusiast, Davidson was an honor student with a passion for architecture, his mother said.
“You should see some of the models this kid has done,” Davidson said of her son. “He has designed the most gorgeous stuff. He was just something else.”
Even during his time in the Marines, Davidson’s interest in architecture guided his work. While inFallujah in 2005, he was assigned to a combat engineering unit, which specialized in buildings, his mother said.
Davidson had finished his last test of the semester earlier Friday afternoon and then joined his family at an Urbana barbecue restaurant for a celebratory dinner before taking off to get a haircut, his mother said.
“Paul said, ‘I got to go, I got to get my hair cut,’” Davidson recalled.
He was not wearing a helmet when he drove off on his 2003 Harley motorcycle, she said. Illinois doesn’t mandate that motorcyclists wear them.
“Unless he was in a state that required a helmet, he hated wearing them,” Davidson said. “He was just stubborn like that.”
Police reports indicate that Paul Davidson was not at fault in the accident.
Described by his mother as “a hunk of a man,” Paul Davidson liked to snowboard and was very close with his family and friends.
He had transferred to U of I after earning an associate’s degree in architecture and was inducted into a national honors society for transfer students as well as the honors society for architecture majors, his mother said.
His graduation ceremony was scheduled for Saturday morning, just hours after the fatal accident.
“I think we’re going to bury him in his cap and gown,” Davidson said. “It’s just a beautiful cap and gown.”
A visitation will be held Thursday afternoon and evening at Calvary Church in Lemont, followed by a full military service at the church Friday at 10 a.m.