Roy Ludwig Czajkowski

July 6, 1954March 14, 2023
Obituary of Roy Ludwig Czajkowski
In His Own Words – A Farewell from Roy Czajkowski to Friends & Family July 6, 1954 to March 14, 2023 I was born and raised in a stable family of five in North Chicago, IL in the 1950’s and 60’s. I have been an astute observer of many changes that happened rapidly and affected life. At 14, a group of friends and I started a successful band called Black Friday Panic where I was the keyboard player which led to exposure to some of the famous acts of the day. At the same time, I was able to become a Troop 36 Eagle Scout under the guidance of many WWII servicemen. After graduating Carmel H.S. and later S.I.U. with a Bachelor of Science degree, the most important thing I did when I was 27 was meeting and falling in love with my soulmate, Gera Gapinski, from Grayslake. We shared a love of antiques, the arts and vintage English sports cars, specifically Austin Healeys and MGAs. I always wanted to have an advertising/media production agency and had the good luck to produce hundreds of commercials and programming, including the highly successful Restaurant Review, hosted by Gera who also provided background music composition. My father influenced me with his ability to work in many disciplines. In the 90’s, Gera and I bought a dilapidated 100 yr old apartment building on East Side Sheridan Rd and worked over several years to restore and rehab it. It was the first of several historic buildings we restored over the years including our personal residence. I will always be grateful to former US Congressman and Senator, Mark Kirk, for giving me the opportunity to enter the world of federal government and the U.S. Congress. We had significant success consolidating the VA/Military Health System, not only in North Chicago but around the country. We spearheaded several major initiatives to rebuild the Great Lakes ecosystem, including the OMC and Coke plant superfund remediation and the much troubled PCB ladened harbor in Waukegan. After I left the Congress, I was appointed to 3 terms by 3 different Secretaries of Commerce to the ETTAC council in Washington DC which provided guidance regarding environmental world trade issues. I then decided to create an environmental remediation consulting company to address heavy metal pollution. This led to extensive travels in China and Mongolia. Agreements were produced between the cities of Tianjin and Waukegan, and my efforts also led to hosting several delegations of Chinese business leaders and Commercial Service representatives to visit Waukegan regarding potential development opportunities. In the Fall of 2020, I was diagnosed with Angio Sarcoma of the scalp, a rare type of cancer. After two surgeries, followed by radiation, and a 3rd recurrence, I decided to enroll in a NIH funded clinical study called Check Point which was studying the effectiveness of Nivolumab immunotherapy as a treatment for Angio Sarcoma. We were at a cross road with my cancer care and felt that the Vanderbilt Health System in Nashville, TN had more experience and a more established Sarcoma unit than Northwestern in Chicago where I had previously been treated. In our past travels, we had a chance to explore the East TN region and decided to relocate to the Knoxville, TN area. One of the risks and many potential side effects of participating in the Sarcoma Study was contracting Pneumonitis, or inflammation of the lungs. Although I was doing very well on the immunotherapy, I contracted a severe case of Pneumonitis in late Nov/early Dec of 2022 which resulted in four ICU hospitalizations between Vanderbilt and UTMC in Knoxville, TN and has led me to the end of my life’s journey. My father, Arthur, married a French Canadian woman named Marguerite Du Sault, whom he met during WWII at a time that his Navy ship was frozen in on the St Laurence Seaway. The Du Sault side of my family includes many Aunts, Uncles and Cousins who we love dearly. There were many wonderful and joyful family visits between IL and Canada over the years. My sister Martha’s family, the Mibecks, are a special family of deep thinkers and we are very proud of their many accomplishments. My brother Paul’s side of the family produced 6 children and numerous grandchildren, a lot to keep track of! It’s humbling to experience great courage in the face of a life threatening illness. At the time of my diagnosis and during treatment, it was my decision not to share details of it unless there was a cure or a final outcome, rather than burdening everyone with my diagnosis. Thank you all very much for making my life a wonderful, special journey. Best wishes to you all! Roy In lieu of flowers, feel free to donate to a mission that impressed Roy, most recently their efforts in Ukraine: World Central Kitchen, José Andrés, Founder, or click on the hyperlink below Roy's page to be redirected. My Tribute to Roy from his Gera What can I say about the greatest love of my life, my Sweet Prince Roy Czajkowski, who valiantly fought a very private battle with Angio Sarcoma these last few years. Roy’s main goal was to live life to the fullest in every way, “large and in charge” as he would say. And that he did! Roy was kind and caring, always willing to lend a helping hand, give sage advice, support, lift spirits and was just so much fun that you wanted to be around him, and with him. Creative and adventurous, he was fearless in the face of obstacles and he truly wanted to make a positive difference in his pursuits and in the lives of other people. He was a loyal friend and confidant. And he created many opportunities for so many people that were struggling or down on their luck. Roy greatly enjoyed meeting people from all walks of life and was always interested in other people’s life stories. I am extremely proud of Roy’s congressional service where he assisted veterans and active military personnel in getting their myriad issues resolved. So many lives he touched in such a positive way as evidenced by the avalanche of letters and cards from grateful constituents that reached out to him personally. All of the wonderful trips he organized to Washington DC for constituents to experience a swearing in ceremony, the Veterans History Project, the WWII Memorial Dedication, to name just a few. His Angio Sarcoma diagnosis in the Fall of 2020 was heartbreaking. But we were determined to seek out every reasonable avenue to provide Roy the possibility of a cure. Being a very private man regarding health issues, Roy insisted that I honor his specific wishes regarding keeping this a private matter. This was one of the hardest things he had ever asked me to do. One of the others was our decision to leave our beautiful home in Waukegan to seek out an option that we felt provided the best chance for a cure for him. So we made the decision to sell our IL properties and spent several months traveling between IL and TN to find and purchase a new home and to get Roy to his treatments at Vanderbilt for the Check Point Clinical Study. In addition to the 700 mile trips back and forth, my incredibly brave Roy endured radiation, chemo, and immunotherapy treatments all while we worked to prepare our properties for sale. There is absolutely nothing I wouldn’t have done for this magnificent man, nor he for me. I adored and loved him unconditionally with every fiber of my being. I am deeply saddened and heartbroken to share with you that my beloved Roy lost his battle March 14, 2023 at 2:45pm. Although the immunotherapy worked very well on his Angio Sarcoma, he succumbed to a side effect called Pneumonitis which severely damaged his lungs from which he could not recover. Roy and I celebrated the anniversary of our very first date 42 yrs ago Wednesday March 8th. We had never been apart since that first encounter. We celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary last July 14th, another secret that we kept along the way. What a ride!! His earthly journey is over, but his spiritual life has now begun. Please honor my Royboy with only your fondest memories of the good times you shared over the years. Maybe tip a drink or a nice glass of wine to celebrate this beautiful human being that we were fortunate to encounter, to know, to love. A Celebration of Life service will be planned in the near future in the Waukegan area. Gera

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  • World Central Kitchen Attn: Donor Services Team, 200 Mass Ave NW, 7th Floor, , Washington City, Washington, D.C. 20001


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