To call Brad Whitlock a regular at the Carlson Ice Arena with a passion for ice skating would be an understatement.

“He usually practiced in the early morning,” said Brad’s wife Sharon Whitlock. “He had a play list of all the music he liked, and he would come in early and just skate around and enjoy being on the ice. It was a feeling of freedom for him.”

Whitlock, 62, of Rockford and Sharon’s husband of 41 years, died Dec. 26 after a monthlong battle with COVID-19.

On Sunday, about 50 adults and children took part in a free ice dancing clinic held in memory of Whitlock at the Carlson Ice Arena, 4150 N. Perryville Road.

Evangeline Whitlock, Brad and Sharon’s daughter, now a resident of St. Louis, Missouri, returned to the Forest City to serve as a volunteer coach.

She described the afternoon of being on the ice and seeing familiar and new faces as a bitter sweet event.

“Last night, I was pulling together photos and medals and my dad’s skates, and it was a very juxtapose feeling of deep grief and sadness. … And at the same time, immense joy, knowing that, especially for the younger skaters, this type of thing will instill a lifelong love (for skating) that I have, that my sister has, and that my dad had,” she said…

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