The history of Szykowny Funeral Home is the history of Chicago. A young immigrant couple Maria Kotlanga and John Szykowny were married at the turn of the Century in Chicago. John was a licensed Funeral Director. And Maria went to Worsham College to earn her license. She may have. Been one of the First Female licensed Funeral Director and Embalmer in the State if Illinois. In 1913 they opened Szykowny Funeral Home on 48th Street near Racine on Chicago’s South Side. A short time later John was killed in an accident when he fell asleep while driving his horse drawn hearse home from Oat Forest Cemetery. Apparently asleep he did not notice that the horse has stopped on a railroad crossing and they were hit by a train and killed. Some time later Maria married a long time family friend and competitor John Talaczynski. Together they operated Talaczynski Undertakers and Embalmers at 1301 West 49th Place Chicago. Maria’s son Fran Szykowny did not get along with his stepfather so after he married Helen Zorykowski the young couple decided to move out to the “Sticks” and open a Funeral Home in a rented storefront at 4893 S. Archer Ave. Chicago. As was the custom at the time most Families wanted to have the visitation or wake in the living room of the Family Home. It was not necessary to have a larger facilitiy but as the neighborhood grew and Families moved from visitations or wakes at home to Funeral Homes they need to expand their facility. So the young couple purchased land on the corner and in the 1920’s built an expanded facility Szykowny Funeral Home at 4901 S. Archer Ave. Chicago. Fran was never a healthy man and died at an early age leaving Helen and her daughter Gertrude to operate the Funeral Home. The business continued until Gertrude met and married a young Decorated Marine returning from WWII John J Siedlecki. John took a night time job at Crane Company to pay the bills and give them Capitol to expand. In 1948 they doubled the size of Szykowny and the business expanded as did the community. By this time wakes in the homes were greatly diminished and families wanted the expanded facilities. However as St. Bruno, St. Richard and St. Turibius churches were established and grew people wanted to process from the Funeral Home to Church for a morning mass walking with the casket down the street to church. Since Szykowny was the original funeral home to service these churches it was a common practice. The tradition of Family Service grew until in 1960 Szykowny was again remodeled and facility size doubled to accommodate client growth. John and Gertrude with Help Szykowny operated the Funeral Home until Jonathan graduated college and came home from his Military Service. In 1977 Jonathan married Nancy and assumed control of Szykowny. In 1984 Jonathan and Nancy actually purchased the Funeral Home from the Family and assumed ownership. Since then they have remodeled and expanded the services offered and facilities to accommodate the changing needs of the Families they serve. Currently Szykowny is now once again Remodeling to evolving needs of the Families we serve. Jonathan and Nancy still carry the service traditions started by John & Maria Szykowny, Helen & Frank and John & Gertrude. Four Generations pf Funeral Service Tradition.
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