Justin Real Memorial Fund

My name is Jenny Phipps.  My husband, Patrick, and I are friends and fellow Parishioners with the Real Family.  Patrick also works with Kevin.

On Sunday, November 29th, 2020 the unimaginable happened.   Kevin and Melissa Real found out that their only son, Justin, had passed away.  

We are trying to raise funds to help offset the funeral costs, a trip to Austin to pack up his apartment and bring home his personal belongings and pay off loans acquired for Justin to attend the University of Texas.

Thank you for your love and support for the Real Family.

With Kevin and Melissa's permission, we set up a savings account at Wichita Federal Credit Union.  The account is in our names with Kevin listed as the beneficiary.  The first withdrawal will be done by my husband and given to the family.  As soon as things settle down a little for the family, Kevin and Melissa will go in to sign the documents to have the account transferred into their names.

The world has truly lost a bright light.

A Family Narrative....

Justin was born at 6:27 pm, just in time to watch Seinfeld with his dad.  He was baptized at the Church of the Magdalen and attended Blessed Sacrament Catholic School for pre-k through 8th grade.  He participated in t-ball, baseball, basketball, football, lacrosse and track during these years.  He was also on the scholar's bowl and robotics teams participated in multiple plays and went to the State Level National Geographic Spelling Bee in 2015 where he answered 8/8 in prelim rounds and finished just shy of the top 10 in finals.

Justin was only in Boy Scouts for a couple of years but loved the activities.  His favorite was the Pinewood Derby.  He placed 2nd in 2008, made some design changes, and came back the next year to win 1st.  He made the tough decision to drop Boy Scouts to focus on sports as he entered middle school.

In 7th grade, he was asked to prepare a speech for the local American Legion Oratorical Competition.  He won both the District and Regional competitions.  He advanced to State where he bravely competed against high school students.  He didn’t win but continued competing in the Oratorical Competition through his junior year in high school; making it to state almost every year.  This was also the year he took the ACT as part of the Duke TIP program…he scored in the top 90% of all 7th graders who tested.  This earned him an invitation to Duke University for National recognition.  We weren’t able to attend that ceremony but did attend the State awards at the University of Kansas where he received both his state and national medals.

7th grade was an active and formative year.  We began involvement with the Special Olympics Wichita Saints team that spring.  He loved being around the athletes and was so supportive and encouraging.  He was at every practice for track and basketball when he didn’t have other commitments and was a designated coach for the team.  There’s no greater joy in life than seeing your son treat every person he encounters as an equal and making them feel like the most important person in the world.

At the 8th grade promotion, Justin received the McNeil Award for having the top grades in his class.  Desiring a challenge and adventure, he entered the International Baccalaureate (IB) program at Wichita East High.   Always willing to try something new, he chose debate as an elective and that became his academic passion.

All through high school, Justin remained active and connected to his parish.  He served as mass captain, helped train new servers, participated in CYO, and organized service projects for the high school students.

Justin’s debate coach, and friend, was the first person he asked for a letter of recommendation.  Mr. Michael Harris stated, “What distinguishes Justin from his peers is his willingness to accept direction and continued efforts to improve the necessary skill sets for success.  At East, Justin has embarked on a rigorous study of courses through IB & Advanced Placement (AP) classes.  His interests have led him to take the IB Higher Level Classes European History, World Literature, and Spanish.  His score of a “4” on the AP US History solidifies his aptitude for these humanities, and most importantly his recent score of 36 on the ACT solidifies the scholastic aptitude.”

“In addition to his academic achievements, Justin is a part of our schools highly competitive speech and debate program.  Justin competes as part of a group of eight students that travel the country participating in national circuit policy debate.  Justin is a four-year member of our team, is a current officer of the East Speech and Debate Society, and is a member with outstanding distinction of the National Speech Debate Association.  Justin is a two-time national qualifier in policy debate as well as an elimination round competitor at the 2018 KSHSAA 6A State Championship.  His accolades reflect the hours of hard work he puts in preparation for competitions.  In addition to debate, Justin serves as a member and the current treasurer of the East High Student Council, is a member of the East High Youth Court, and is part of East High Students against Prejudice.  Justin is a well-rounded member of our student community in the classroom and throughout our building.”

“He ended up getting 2nd place at the KSHSAA 6A State Policy Debate tournament his senior year, closed out and shared the 1st place title at the KSHSAA 6A State Lincoln Douglas Debate tournament with teammate Noah Yust, finished in the top 20 in the nation in policy debate at the NCFL Grand National Championship, and qualified for the National Speech and Debate Association National Championship for a 3rd time (Lincoln Douglas).  He attended the University of Texas at Austin where he was a scholarship debater for their nationally ranked program directed by Brendon Bankey, and he worked as a volunteer coach for high school students at the Liberal Arts and Science Academy in Austin for Yao Yao Chen.”

Justin had been a University of Texas sports fan since he was young and was so excited at the possibility of attending the University of Texas at Austin.  Justin applied to, and was accepted to, several colleges, but was sold on UT-Austin after one visit.  After visiting with UT Debate Coach Brendon Bankey, Justin told mom and dad that Austin was the place for him.  After being offered a spot on the UT debate team, in-state tuition, and scholarship money, Justin quickly accepted the invitation.

Justin started his college career at UT during the fall semester of 2019, but due to all of his credits from the IB program and AP classes, he was actually starting college as a second-semester sophomore.  Always the outgoing and charismatic individual, Justin quickly made friends with his new debate team members and other students at UT.  Justin also got his first job during his freshman year of college as a barista at Starbucks (mom and dad were so happy that their son was going to be able to get them discounts on their caffeine when he came home for holiday visits).  Justin worked at Starbucks for a while but soon left when dad’s friend, John Speer, found Justin a job helping a friend remodel a house.  Justin loved spending time with Larry and helping him work on the house (and dad was happy that Justin was around a positive influence since he was so far away from home).

Justin came home for spring break and, because of COVID-19, stayed home to complete his freshman year and achieved excellent grades.  Justin remained at home and spent a majority of his summer spending time with his family and helping out around the house.  Toward the end of summer, Justin also got a new job in Austin as a Community Assistant at an apartment complex.  Luckily for Justin, the job was at the complex where he and his two friends would be residing for sophomore year.  Justin loved his new job and quickly made friends with his new co-workers.

Justin started his sophomore year at UT during the fall semester of 2020.  Unfortunately, due to the Covid pandemic, most of Justin’s classes were online (Justin preferred in-person classes for the more personalized experience and interaction).  Justin also continued with his passion as a member of the UT debate team.  Some of Justin and his partner’s debate accomplishments at UT include Quarterfinalist UMKC September 2019, Mid America Cup Championship February 2020, and Quarterfinalist Wayne State October 2020.

Justin frequently FaceTimed his family while away at college.  Ever the goofball, he loved to distract Alli by making funny faces.  She was more than happy to reciprocate and took screenshots of most of them.

Justin’s short-term goals were to continue competing in debate at UT and achieve a Bachelor’s Degree with a double-major in Government and International Studies with a minor in Spanish.  Justin planned to apply to law school at UT-Austin, as well as law schools in California.  Justin’s dream was to become a lawyer and he often spoke of the possibility of a future in politics.

Justin loved his family more than anything.  His sisters were his main priority but he was an amazing “big brother” to all of his cousins.  It wasn’t uncommon to find a teenage Justin sitting at the Little Tykes picnic table with the little kids at a family dinner or organizing a game of football or hide and seek.

Kylie’s favorite memory: Car rides whether in town or road trips.  We always had a fun time.

Alli’s favorite memory: He is awesome, funny, cute, and adorable.  He’s amazing, crazy, silly, and loveable.  I love my brother!  I loved doing Just Dance with him.

Mom’s favorite memory: Justin could always make me laugh whether with an ornery smile, lip-synching to songs or trying to recreate Kylie’s dance moves.  My favorite weekend was our mother/son trip to Waco for the Baylor University Invitation to Excellence.  I will forever treasure his simple texts asking how my day was going.

Dad’s favorite memory: Way too many to list, but the first has to be the day he was born.  Dad always told people that he would be happy with a boy or girl, but secretly hoped for a boy for nine long months.  When the day finally came and Justin arrived, dad was grinning from ear to ear and thanked God for his beautiful baby boy.

Grandma Debbie & Grandpa Gary’s favorite memories: The thing we loved about him was that he would join in play with the younger cousins no matter how old he was.  Didn’t think he had to sit with the adults.  Remember him doing water gun fights and playing football, etc with them.  One time when Grandma stayed with the kids while Kevin and Melissa went out she took them to Applebee’s and expected they would all order kids meals.  The girls did but Justin ordered an adult sampler meal that was huge.  He ate the whole thing then finished what Alli and Kylie left on their plates.  She was awed. LOL

Grandma Luann’s favorite memory: The week Justin spent in FL after we took the Caribbean cruise.  Best Friend and Justin spent a lot of one-on-one adult time together.  We had so much fun making beautiful memories from shopping, playing the card game golf, and actual golf.

Grandpa Bill’s favorite memory: Justin went golfing with Papa Bill.  On the last hole, Papa said he had a hundred dollar bill that Justin could have if he beat Papa.  Justin was five strokes back as they drove up to the par-three final hole.  Justin sarcastically said, “Good grief!  So I have to get a hole-in-one to even have a chance to beat you, Papa.”  Papa just told him to try his best.  Papa went first and hit it over the green.  Justin hit his ball on the green about 10 feet right of the hole.  Papa struggled to finally make a 7 on the hole.  Justin putted the ball up the hill and into the hole for a score of 2.  Even though they tied, Papa gave him the hundred dollar bill.  Papa was so proud of Justin!


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Organizer and beneficiary

Jenny Phipps 
Wichita, KS
Melissa Real 
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