History & Staff

We have years of experience caring for families, from all walks of life. Each family comes to us because they know we are leaders in our profession, dedicated to excellence in service, and have the highest integrity.

Our History

Maxim Muzyka came to America from Ukraine in 1890 and started off in Pennsylvania. Maxim began working in a coal mine. A noticeable man of over six feet tall, he was granted the most dangerous job of carrying dynamite.

After one year of working hard to create a new life for himself and his family, he returned to Europe to bring his children Basil and Marie back with him.  They moved to the West Pullman neighborhood in Chicago in hopes of better lives and greater opportunities.  The children grew and Basil graduated high school.  Basil began to work for Pullman Coaches as an upholsterer.  During this time, the young Basil noticed funeral directors on the south side taking advantage of the immigrants.  Inspired to make a difference, he decided to go to Mortuary College in 1913.  Just two years later on April 1, 1915, he opened his first funeral home at 2157 West Chicago Avenue in the neighborhood still known as Ukrainian Village.

Photo: Young Basil Muzyka dressed in traditional Ukrainian clothes (Circled near back left).

Marie Muzyka decided to go to school to become a licensed funeral director and embalmer as well, and graduated in 1919.  She was one of the first women in the Chicagoland area to enter the funeral industry, and went into business with her brother Basil.  The Muzyka family had been using a horse and buggy for transportation, but in 1919 purchased their first car, a 1917 Cunningham.

Photo: Three Generations of the Muzyka Family

Basil Bohdan "Danny" Muzyka (top left)
Basil Muzyka (top right)
Maxim Muzyka (bottom) 

On September 5, 1922, Basil’s first son, Basil Bohdan “Danny” Muzyka was born.  Danny grew up, completed a tour of active duty in the U.S. Air Force, and then went to Mortuary College.  He received his degree in 1947 and went to work with his father, Basil.

Danny Muzyka got married and had four children.  Margaret M. Muzyka and Basil Michael Muzyka both decided to stay in the family business.  Margaret graduated from Worsham College of Mortuary Science in 1976 and began working on Chicago Avenue.  Shortly after in 1980, the family decided to open a second location in the Jefferson Park neighborhood on the Northwest side of Chicago.

B. Michael Muzyka graduated from Worsham College in 1983 to take over this new funeral home location at 5776 West Lawrence Avenue.  Since 1915, the Muzyka’s have helped thousands of families with funeral and cremation services.  They proudly continue their family values-based service with the utmost dignity and respect for the wishes of the families they serve. 

Photo: 
Basil "Danny" Muzyka - Funeral Director (right) - Danny Muzyka United States Air Force Pilot (left)

Four Generations of the Muzyka Family in America

Basil Michael Muzyka (left)
Basil "Danny" Muzyka (right)

Our Valued Staff

  • Basil Michael Muzyka

    Basil Michael Muzyka Owner and Funeral Director

    Basil Michael Muzyka is the 4th generation of his family in America from Ukraine. A 3rd generation funeral director born and raised in Chicago, Michael is the youngest of four children and the only son. He always looked up to his father, Basil Bohdan “Danny” Muzyka, who lived for others and was very active in the community. Michael wanted to be just as generous. He went to Lake Forest Academy and then attended college in Texas before going to Worsham College of Mortuary Science. He became a licensed funeral director in 1983 and joined his father at the second location in Jefferson Park, Muzyka & Son Funeral Home. His sister Margaret Muzyka continues to manage the original Muzyka Funeral Home location on Chicago Avenue. An adventurous spirit, Michael enjoys many outdoor activities in his leisure time such as skiing, hiking, gardening, and riding his motorcycle. Michael is honored to serve the families of Northwest Chicago and the Chicagoland Area.

  • Scott Swanner

    Scott Swanner Manager and Funeral Director

    Scott was born and raised in Burlington, Iowa. In his freshman year of high school, Scott experienced the death of his grandfather. Seeing how the staff of the funeral home was able to help his family through such a difficult time was the reason Scott decided to enroll in mortuary school. He takes great pride in being able to help families during one of the worst times in their life. Scott graduated from Carl Sandburg College of Mortuary Science in May of 2013. He is a member of Sigma Phi Sigma Mortuary Science Fraternity, and served as President for one term while in school. Scott is also a member of Illinois Funeral Directors Association, National Funeral Directors Association. He is a certified crematory operator with the Cremation Association of North America, and a licensed Life Insurance Producer with the State of Illinois. This means Scott is able to meet with families prior to the passing of a loved one, and give them the option of pre-funding their wishes with the funeral home at any time. In his free time, Scott enjoys reading, spending time with family and friends, exploring the city, and spoiling his dog, Leo.

  • Melissa Jankiewicz

    Melissa Jankiewicz Funeral Director Intern

    Melissa grew up in the northwest suburb of Elmwood Park, Illinois and still currently resides there with her family. After the sudden and unexpected death of a close family friend, Melissa decided to change careers and enroll in mortuary school to become a Funeral Director with a particular emphasis on helping families through the devastation of loss and its ensuing grief. She graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago with a Bachelor of Arts in English in May 2010, and then later graduated Worsham College of Mortuary Science in March 2017. She is a certified crematory operator with the Cremation Association of North America and hopes to become a certified grief counselor. In her free time, Melissa enjoys reading and relaxing, as well as attending Blackhawks and Cubs games and going to local concerts in Chicago. She also enjoys spending time with her family, her companion Chad, and her dogs Mia and Toby.

  • Samantha Rossi

    Samantha Rossi Funeral Director

    Samantha was born and raised in Rochester, Minnesota. Her husband, Dominic, their two young children, Louis, and Marilyn, and their furry friend, Gavin reside in Niles. She enjoys, gardening, the outdoors, HGTV projects, and spending cherished time with family. Samantha graduated from Worsham College in 2007, and has been serving the Chicagoland area ever sense. She started working with Muzyka and Son Funeral Home in 2012 and has maintained a part-time relationship due to her needs as a mother, and determination to complete her bachelors degree in public health. She understands what it is like to lose a loved one and therefore serves our families with compassion and experience. Samantha has her Insurance Producers License which allows her to help families pre-arrange and pre-fund their funerals. She is also able to help you design and purchase a monument or memorial stone.

  • James E. Peterson

    James E. Peterson Funeral Director

    Jim has been working full time in the funeral service profession since 1967. He has been a part of the Muzyka & Son staff for over ten years. Jim resides in Naperville with his wife, Marybeth. Together they have five children, and thirteen grandchildren. When he is not serving a family, he enjoys spending time with his family, spoiling his grandchildren, and doing all kinds of different woodworking projects. We are very lucky to have Jim as a part of the Muzyka & Son family.

  • Patricia Reichart

    Patricia Reichart Wake Attendant and Receptionist

  • Magdalena Wojcik

    Magdalena Wojcik Wake Attendant