Chicago Fire Department Lieutenant Jan Tchoryk's life was “all about service,” colleagues recalled at his funeral Thursday.
Tchoryk, 55, was one of two CFD members who died on the job last week.
A procession arrived shortly before 10am at St. Joseph Ukraine, 5000 N. Cumberland Ave., carried Tchoryk's body in a flag-draped casket above the fire engine.
Tchoryk died April 5 while battling extra blazes at a Gold Coast high-rise. The cause of death was determined to be hypertensive-arteriosclerotic cardiovascular disease.
The bagpipers and drummers followed behind Tchoryk's casket as they were unloaded from the fire engines and led into the church.
When CFD Pastor Bill McFarlane first heard of Tchoryk's death, he took to Facebook to find Tchoryk's consistently positive posts.
“He loves posting on Facebook and ends most of his posts ‘being positive,'” McFarlane said. “When you look at his Facebook, it's easy to see that his life is about service.”
Tchoryk is an outsider and Marine veteran who served in Desert Storm. He has a large family including a son who recently joined the Chicago Police Department.
Tchoryk loved fishing and smoking cigars, said McFarlane. He also has an affinity for sipping Johnny Walker whiskey and is proud of his Ukrainian heritage, McFarlane said.
CFD Commissioner Annette Nance-Holt said her colleagues called her “John”.
“John joins us as a first responder on countless calls across the state to help residents and visitors to this great city,” Nance-Holt said from the pulpit.
“He continued with that goal to the end, running to the high rise to serve that morning.”
He then asked the assembled mourners to give them a round of applause.
Also present was Tchoryk's wife, Natalia Kavkun; his mother, Olga; his son, Dylan; two daughters, Olivia and Grace; and his stepdaughter, Olena Kavkun.
Dignitaries at the church include Chicago's first lady Amy Eshleman, Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson and Alderpersons Nicholas Sposato (38) and Ed Burke (14).
A funeral for the 26-year veteran of the department will follow soon at the St. Petersburg Ukrainian Cemetery. Nicholas, 8851 W. Higgins Ave.
The day before Tchoryk died, firefighter Jermaine Pelt died while working on a house fire in West Pullman. Pelt's funeral is scheduled for Friday.