Begin New Search
Refine Last Search
Cemetery Lookup
Add Burial Records
Help with Find A Grave

Find all Jajkowskis in:
 • Saint Adalbert Catholic Cemetery
 • Niles
 • Cook County
 • Illinois
 • Find A Grave

Top Contributors
Success Stories
Community Forums
Find A Grave Store

Log In
John Michael Jajkowski, Jr
Birth: Sep. 18, 1948
Illinois, USA
Death: Dec. 1, 1958
Cook County
Illinois, USA

Ten year old victim of the Our Lady of Angels Chicago School fire which claimed the lives of 92 elementary school children and 3 nuns.

In death, this little boy in particular, as well as 91 of his classmates and three of his teachers, became icons for school fire safety throughout the globe. On December 1, 1958, a fire erupted at Our Lady of the Angels Catholic elementary school in Chicago, Illinois. Before the day was over 92 children and three nuns had died in the fire.

A photograph of Chicago fireman Richard Scheidt carrying the lifeless body of this 5th grader, John Michael Jajkowski, Jr., out of the smoldering remains of the school, was used by Life Magazine on page one of their article about the fire. That photograph was later adopted as the centerpiece of a fire safety & prevention poster which was distributed throughout the world. The image of John Michael Jajkowski, Jr.'s death thus became both a sobering reminder of the Chicago tragedy as well as the catalyst for enhanced fire safety efforts worldwide. Schools across the United States, as well as in many foreign countries, used the poster to launch local fire safety campaigns. Within a year of the tragedy, over 16,000 schools in the US made structural changes to improve fire safety. More thousands of schools, which had previously practiced fire drills on a sporadic basis, if at all, implemented stringent requirements for regularly scheduled drills a practice which continues today, over 50 years later.

Although it is impossible to say how many lives may have been indirectly saved by the image of young John's tragic death, and the safety campaign designed around it, there is no doubt, in the years following it contributed to countless instances of children evacuated from schools in a successful, orderly manner during times of crisis. America never again suffered such a school tragedy.

In life, John Michael Jajkowski, Jr. was not able to achieve his dream of serving his fellow man by becoming a priest, but in death he served mankind in immeasurable ways. 
Family links: 
  John Bob Jajkowski (1926 - 1989)
Saint Adalbert Catholic Cemetery
Cook County
Illinois, USA
Created by: Eric Johansson
Record added: Dec 01, 2000
Find A Grave Memorial# 5105631
John Michael Jajkowski, Jr
Added by: David M. Habben
John Michael Jajkowski, Jr
Added by: Queen Graver
John Michael Jajkowski, Jr
Cemetery Photo
Added by: Richard Fischer
Photos may be scaled.
Click on image for full size.

- MC Fresne
 Added: Aug. 23, 2016
May God bless you and all of your family with his pure grace and peace. Amen.
- Lynnette
 Added: Aug. 12, 2016

- Michele Herrick
 Added: Aug. 10, 2016
There are 782 more notes not showing...
Click here to view all notes...
This page is sponsored by: Beau

Privacy Statement and Terms of Service