Funeral Details

John Peter Ckuj

December 6, 1947 - February 28, 2024



Midtown Funeral Home
3918 West Irving Park Road
Chicago, Illinois 60618
Get Directions
Saturday, March 9, 2024
1PM until time of service at 4PM


Midtown Funeral Home
3918 West Irving Park Road
Chicago, Illinois 60618
Get Directions
Saturday, March 9, 2024 at 4:00 PM


By Family

Interment - Private

Memorial Contributions

Little Sisters of The Poor
2325 North Lakewood Avenue
Chicago Illinois 60614
Anti Cruelty Society
510 North LaSalle Drive
Chicago, Illinois 60654


Hans-Peter “Pete” Ckuj was born on December 6, 1947 in Nuremberg, Germany, to Teodor Ckuj (d. 1983) and Charlotte Ckuj (nee Faltermeier, d. 2009.) and spent his early years in the Bavarian countryside. A few years later the little family emigrated to the United States, landing first in Chicago’s Ukrainian Village neighborhood, eventually settling in Lincoln Park, at the house on 928 W Montana.

Pete’s highly singular nature came in handy as he spent his youth navigating the mean Chicago streets, honing that sharp-witted wiseguy persona he’d carry throughout his life.

He landed his first job, at the Biograph Theater, in his early teens and spent much of his time there slinging popcorn, tossing drunks, and breaking up the gang fights that would occasionally erupt in the lobby.

The Biograph Theater is notorious, of course, as the place where infamous gangster John Dillinger was shot. A slightly lesser-noted but nonetheless very important event occurred years later in this very same cinema, when Pete met a foxy babe named Maria Borowik (d. 2018)
Their courtship blossomed throughout their teenage years, and they were wed on May 13, 1972.

After spending a few years traveling, partying, and playing rock n roll records way too loud, the young couple mellowed (a bit) and put down roots at the house on Seeley Avenue on the North Side of Chicago. A short time later they produced two lovely, beautiful, and charming daughters, Erica (Miller) and Susan (Litz.)

Providing for his new family was a point of pride for a workaholic like Pete. Ever the iconoclast, he eschewed the doldrums of toeing a company line, channeling his entrepreneurial spirit into more than a few projects, businesses, ventures, schemes, and enterprises. While the overall success of these undertakings would vary, Pete always kept his family fed, clothed, and sheltered (with no small amount of treats, trips, and little luxuries thrown in for good measure.)

When not engrossed in some commercial endeavor or other, Pete enjoyed collecting watches, watching terrible action movies, yelling at the Chicago Bears through the television screen (they probably heard him, too,) and speeding down Lake Shore Drive with the top down and The Rolling Stones blasting on warm summer evenings.

Most of all, he loved playing his role of grandfather Opa to the magnificently marvelous Matilda Miller (d. 2024) and, if anything at all is fair in this life or the next, he is floating on a cloud somewhere with her, doing exactly that.

In addition to his (lovely, beautiful, charming) daughters, Pete leaves behind his younger brother, Tom Ckuj, his nieces Natalie Ckuj and Nicole Ckuj, and a whole bevy of friends, acolytes, cohorts, cronies, accomplices, flunkies, admirers, and collaborators, all of whom would certainly agree that the world is a bit more quiet but a whole lot less interesting without him in it. Arrangements by Midtown Funeral Home and Cremation Options, 773.654.3744,


We encourage you to share your personal condolences and stories of John Peter Ckuj below and we will share them with the family.
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Pete was My Best Friend we met at the Famous Biograph Theatre when we were 16 years old we are exactly one month apart born in 1947. Mine November 6, 1947 and his December 6, 1947. When we were ushers at the Biograph we got into many fights against the local gangs that use to hangout there Saturday and Sunday but we took no crap from anybody. Since our birthdays are one month apart same age we always took each other out from lunch on our special day For Me Pete was always a special person. I Will Always Miss Him! May GOD Be Smiling on you right Now Love You ♥️🙏⭕️🙏♥️

Lenny Pagan
March 4, 2024
My deepest and most sincere condolences to Sue, Erica and the Ckuj family. May his memory be a blessing.

Jessica Sellountos
March 5, 2024
Our condolences to Tom, Erica and Susan.
We have lost a wonderful friend.
Over the past twenty five years we have shared my happy and fun times.
Our hearts are sadden, but the memory of Pete will always bring us a smile

Michael & Angela Rozovics
March 7, 2024
You are all in our prayers.
Sincere condolences from France.
Jerome & family

Jerome Karkulowski
March 9, 2024
Pete was always so proud of his daughters. He would boast of how little they cost him by shopping in thrift stores. He would beam with happiness talking about them.

Toni Lawrence
March 9, 2024