Driver killed in Sycamore Speedway crash was devoted friend, family man
Friends and family are remembering Tim Erjavac as a devoted family man, hard worker and loyal friend who channeled his love for automobiles and knack for fixing things into a passionate hobby as a race car driver.
Erjavac, 47, of Morton Grove, died Friday after crashing during a race at Sycamore Speedway in Maple Park.
"I can't even tell you how much he loved cars, racing, going to the track, buying parts for his car, decorating the cars," said friend Daniel Rubin. "This was his real passion. He loved this stuff."
According to the speedway, Erjavac was competing in a Figure 8 event when his car collided with another vehicle. Kane County Sheriff's deputies were called to the track at about 11:20 p.m. Friday to assist Maple Park firefighters, who pulled Erjavac from his vehicle and took him to Kishwaukee Hospital in DeKalb, where he was pronounced dead.
Michelle Erjavac said her husband of 23 years was an amazing father to sons Christopher, 19, a business student at Illinois State University, and Jeremy, 22, a Marine stationed in Okinawa, Japan.
When Michelle's brother died in 2003, Erjavac helped raise his four children who moved from Oklahoma. Among them was niece Brittni Yactor.
"I would never be where I'm at if it wasn't for him," Yactor said Sunday.
Erjavac grew up in Schaumburg and attended Conant High School, his widow said. He was a longtime employee at the Chicago O'Hare Hilton, where we worked as a stationary engineer handling heating, air conditioning and refrigeration. He worked hard, pulling overtime shifts to get his son through college and winning awards on the job, Michelle Erjavac said.
She and Erjavac shared many great memories, including times spent at Wrigley Field to watch his beloved Chicago Cubs and going on family trips, she added.
Rubin described Erjavac as "a low-key guy, no B.S., very funny and very loyal."
He was good with his hands, often making himself available to fix things for others. When Erjavac talked about his sons, "he would light up," Rubin said.
Racing and cars were his other passions, and he loved making the long drives to Sycamore Speedway to compete.
"It was far away," Rubin said. "He drove a good hour and a half to get to (the speedway)."
Funeral arrangements are being made through Simkins Funeral Home, 6251 Dempster St., in Morton Grove. For more information, call (847) 965-2500.