CHICAGO — A fallen Chicago firefighter was laid to rest Wednesday.
The funeral service for Lt. Kevin Ward began at 11 a.m. at the Fourth Presbyterian Church of Chicago, located at 126 East Chestnut Street, just off Michigan Avenue. There, hundreds of firefighters from across the country mourned the loss and celebrated the life of the beloved lieutenant.
Corrine Walenda affectionately referred to her ex-husband and dear friend as her “wasband.” She painted a picture of a world traveler with hundreds of hobbies during her eulogy. Ward was an artist whose glass-blowing sculptures were on display at his service. He was also a chef, an engineer, a scuba diver, and an underwater hockey player.
“It’s perhaps one of the most obscure sports in the world but it is exceptionally tough, somewhat chaotic and altogether exhilarating,” Walenda said.
But Ward also lived a life of service, joining the Chicago Fire Department in 1996.
“The fire department allowed him to try and learn different jobs and challenge himself and Kevin did,” said CFD Capt. Anthony Massaro.
Added Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson: “He was selfless, courageous and deeply dedicated to the greatest city in the world, the city of Chicago.”
Ward was one of three firefighters injured in a blaze Aug. 11 in the 8300 block of West Balmoral in the city’s Norwood Park neighborhood. He died days later at Loyola Medical Center, surrounded by family.
“Kevin, my son. I watched him take his first breath. I watched him take his last breath,” said John Ward. “I loved him. I will miss him.”
Ward, 59, worked out of Truck 9, located in the 5300 block of North Cumberland.
The Chicago Fire Department flew fly flags at half-staff until sunset Wednesday in honor of Ward.
Ward’s death is the third line-of-duty death the department has dealt with in 2023. In the same week in April, CFD lost Jermaine Pelt, 49, and Jan Tchoryk, 55, in separate fires.