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The car collector with a heart of gold

Students and public watch the presentation of the documentary
Photo by Payton Egnew

On March 28, Bradley alumni Kristina Kliver and Connor Parkhurst hosted a touching presentation of their documentary called “Hearts Of Gold,” which tells the story of Ray Fauber and his passions.

This film came to be when the KDB Group commissioned Kliver and Parkurst from Hoop House Creative to film Ray Fauber’s collection of 89 vehicles and each of their stories. Soon after filming, the pair noticed how passionate Fauber was about many other aspects in his life in addition to his car collection.

After this realization, Parkhurst went back to the KDB Group and explained how special this documentary could be if they told the story of Ray Fauber’s life and accomplishments. The KDB approved and filming began once again.

Fauber grew up on a melon farm in Spring Bay, Illinois. He and his siblings spent their days picking melons, loading them onto their dad’s delivery truck and delivering them to local businesses.

The title “Hearts Of Gold” acquired its name from the term for the inside of a cantaloupe. Fauber explained that if you cut a cantaloupe a certain way, the seeds are shaped like hearts.

Fauber’s father had bought the home in 1912, but it was sold to someone outside of the family along the way. In November of 2018, Fauber bought the property and it was once again in the family.

Fauber met his wife Eleanor during a blind date, and it was love at first sight. Soon after, the two married in 1952 and had two children, Crystal and Clifford.

Throughout the documentary, Fauber explained his deep love for his wife ever since he met her and how he always strived to make her happy.

Fauber gets teary-eyed when describing his wife’s 42-year battle with cancer and her positive outlook on life no matter how sick she got. She shared a love for horses and horse-showing, so Ray took the time to show off the hundreds of ribbons she had won during her competing days.

Eleanor’s battle with cancer ended on May 20, 2021, two weeks before she was supposed to meet with Kliver and Parkhurst.

While telling the story of his life, the scene flashes back to his car collection and the stories behind each of them. Fauber’s family and friends explain how he can recall anything, so his car tours usually take over two hours.

Fauber’s collection of antique cars include Corvettes and six replicas of the Indianapolis 500 Corvette Pace Cars. On many of his cars, Eleanor’s name is painted in cursive on the passenger side where she sat, along with their son’s name Cliff.

Towards the end of the documentary, Fauber goes on to explain his relationship with St. Jude and how important he feels it is to give back to the community. Every year for the past 11 years, Fauber has participated in the St. Jude Corvette Drive.

The St. Jude Corvette Drive is an annual charity event whose proceeds go towards St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. Corvette drivers and St. Jude supporters start their journey in Washington, Illinois and drive to Memphis, Tennessee. During this drive, participants go to speakers, explore sights and visit with hospital staff before making their journey back.

Every year, Fauber takes his motorcoach up to Memphis to help support and raise money for St. Jude. He became interested in helping St. Jude after his sister Verna passed at a young age from cancer. Since then, Fauber has strived to help and support St. Jude in any way he can.

Family members and friends of Ray spoke throughout the documentary and never had a bad thing to say about him. Each person spoke highly of Fauber and said how caring, sweet and thoughtful he was.

Fauber’s friend from St. Jude explains how Ray never forgets what he’s told her and always makes sure to ask about her day. She then goes on to add that if her husband loved her half as much as Ray loved Eleanor, she would be very lucky.

The documentary ends with Ray reading a poem called “The Dash” by Linda Ellis. This poem was gifted to Parkhurst by Ray who then had the idea for Ray to read it during filming. The poem describes a man who was chosen to read at his friend’s funeral. While reading, he explains how the dash that comes between your birth date and death date represents your time on Earth. The rest of the poem goes on to say if one would be happy by how someone described their dash.

A quote ends the documentary with a black screen and the words “Ray asks everyone, ‘How will you spend your dash?’”

After the screening, Kliver and Parkhurst answered questions about the backstory behind their life that inspired them to want to pursue filmmaking and the filmmaking process.

“I started my career when I was ten or eleven. I started working at the Civic Center and filming broadcast sports and then I graduated from that and self taught from Youtube,” Parkhurst said. “I always knew that I wanted to create my own company and film not only wedding or corporate stories, but documentaries and short films.”

Kliver then goes on to explain that she grew up as a dancer and loved creative writing, so storytelling has always been one of her passions.

Filming started in early March 2020 and wrapped mid 2021, with the rest of the year being the editing portion of the process.

“Getting to tell a local story about a local person that a lot of people might not know and getting to see his life experiences,” Kliver said. “Being able to compare that to what’s going on in your own life or someone else’s is really fun to see.”

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