Family and friends say Michael Schaffer was a generous man who continually tried to make better the lives of those less privileged. Lauren Jiggetts reports.
The family of a Water Reclamation District officer struck and killed by a taxi early Thursday say Michael Schaefer never let a day go by without having an appreciation for the opportunities in his life.
"He felt so lucky. He felt it was his duty to give back," said Schaefer's sister, Lindsey Kilsdonk.
The 34-year-old was crossing the street at at North Sheridan Road and West Pratt Boulevard at about 3:45 a.m. when he was hit by a cab heading south on Sheridan.
Schaefer, of the 6700 block of North Glenwood Avenue, was taken to Saint Francis Hospital in Evanston, where he died about an hour later, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office.
Police said the cab driver had the green light, and Schaefer's death on Friday was ruled an accident. The cab driver was issued a citation for striking a pedestrian in the roadway.
Schaefer worked at Wrigley Field and Malcolm X College. Earlier this summer, Schaefer competed in a triathlon and raised nearly $10,000 for charity. His family and friends say they sometimes referred to him as "Santa Mike" for the presents he bought for underprivileged children. It was that generosity family and friends said they'll remember.
"He was probably one of the most selfless people I've ever met," said Schaefer's brother-in-law, Jason Kilsdonk.
Schaefer on Saturday planned to commemorate the closing of one of his favorite hotspots -- Hamilton's in Rogers Park -- with a fund-raising party benefiting two charities: one for a friend's son battling cancer and another for Misercordia.
That fund-raising event will go on as planned.