We believe the foundation of the Kopicki family in funeral service came before elaborate funeral homes with the high tech conveniences of today. It rose out of necessity and safety concerns in a much more uncertain time. Bernard Kopicki cared for the dead in Poland in the 1800's. He and his family immigrated to America in the late 1800's, where he instilled the empathy and family values our family businesses stand for today.
Bernards son Alexander was a man of many interests and professions. He was a Grand Marshall at the dedication of St. Adalbert Church, a constable during prohibition, played baseball for the Chicago White Stockings (later became the Cubs) at the West Side Fair Grounds, was a gymnast, owned farms in Almond, Wisconsin and Northern Indiana, was a machinist, and was a member of many fraternal Polish and Slovak clubs and lodges. Alex began providing home funerals in 1909, four years after the death of his father, Bernard. He later established his first funeral home location on West 17th Street in Chicago, and expanded by buying out one of his competitors. At this location, the funeral home was in the front, the funeral carriages were in the back and the horses walked up a ramp to the second floor. The third floor, serviced by a block and tackle, brought hay that could be dropped down to the horses thru a chute. The horse head above the old stable door is still there today.
Alexander's son, Gerald A. Kopicki, purchased the funeral home at 21st and Paulina in 1934 and sold the 17th Street location. Gerald's vision, since many funeral homes were only storefronts and many of the area funeral directors were serving in the Armed Services during WWII., was to set up a centralized embalming facility. As well as handling his own funeral business, he helped other funeral homes with many embalmings, delivering casketed remains to each funeral location with his livery. Gerald and George, his son, built flower cars for their own and other funeral homes use.