Family marks second anniversary of fatal boating accident

OREGON – Family and friends of Kent “Bud” Dearborn Jr. gathered in a parking lot by the Oregon dam on Saturday to mark the second anniversary of a boating accident that took the life of their loved one.

It was Nov. 20, 2019, when Kent “Bud” Dearborn Jr., 33, of Polo and James Swift, 64, of Forreston, went missing after their boat capsized while they were fishing in the Rock River, right below the Oregon dam.

Swift’s body was found Jan. 3, 2020 near the Dixon dam. Dearborn’s has yet to be recovered despite dozens of river searches by civilians and law enforcement in 2020.

On Saturday, a group of around 40 people gathered by the dam and then walked to the Illinois Route 64 bridge to drop flowers into the river.

“There really isn’t anything new,” said Penny Lee of Oregon, Dearborn’s aunt. “We miss him terribly. When the water was so low this year we thought maybe we’d find a shoe, or a coat, or anything, but ... nothing.”

On a cold and darkening afternoon, Lee first gathered the group together for a photo from the west bank overlooking the area where the boat was last seen. Then family and friends took a flower and walked to the bridge where they dropped it into the Rock River.

Lee said a psychic told her that Bud said, “tell Aunt Penny to keep doing the flowers. I like that”.

“We’re still waiting to decide on a memorial service,” Lee said. “I doubt we will ever find anything of Bud’s now, but you never know.”


Earleen Hinton

Earleen oversees production and content of 9 community weeklies and has worked for Shaw Newspapers since 1985.