Algonquin firefighter who died unexpectedly was devoted friend, father

A dependable friend and passionately devoted father is how colleagues are remembering John-Paul Kilanski, 38, of Algonquin, who died unexpectedly Sunday.

A nearly 17-year firefighter/paramedic with the Algonquin-Lake in the Hills Fire Protection District, Kilanski died overnight in his sleep of natural causes, said Fire Chief Peter Van Dorpe.

“We don't know what happened,” he said, adding that family members are awaiting the coroner's report.

“JP really was one of those guys everybody would say, ‘If I need somebody, I could totally count on JP.' He had a unique personality. Always here for you kind of guy,” Van Dorpe said,

A decorated Army veteran, Kilanski served as a sergeant in the 822nd Military Police Company and was deployed to Iraq and Kuwait during Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. He started with the department as a part-time firefighter in August 2001, becoming full-time in 2008.

“Never one to allow himself to be ‘just good enough,' he immediately began developing his knowledge and skills in advanced firefighting, hazardous materials, vehicle operations and technical rescue disciplines,” Van Dorpe wrote in a letter to the community.

Kilanski was a drill captain with the Associated Fire Fighters of Illinois Honor Guard and a member of the fire department's technical rescue team. He recently successfully completed the lieutenant's examination and was in line for a promotion in the near future.

He also was set to receive a lifesaving award for administering an EpiPen to a person who got stung by a bee and went into anaphylactic shock while Kilanski was off-duty at a softball game two weeks ago. He monitored the person's vitals until an ambulance arrived, Van Dorpe said.

Kilanski will be honored posthumously during a ceremony in October.

Family members have set up a GoFundMe page to help with funeral expenses, raising more than $1,600 of a $10,000 goal by Tuesday afternoon. Donations are being managed by Kilanski's parents, Rose and Jan.

Kilanski is survived by his wife, Jennifer, and sons Hunter, 8, Gunnar, 6, and Cannon, 4.

Visitation for Kilanski is set for 2 to 9 p.m. Sunday, at Willow Funeral Home, 1415 W. Algonquin Road, Algonquin. He will receive full active firefighter and military honors, Van Dorpe said. A walk-through of uniformed public service and military personnel will take place at 6 p.m. at the funeral home.

Fire service personnel will receive Kilanski's funeral procession before a Mass at 11 a.m. Monday, at St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church, 111 S. Hubbard St., Algonquin.

Kilanski will be cremated and his ashes will be privately interred.

Firefighter/paramedic John-Paul Kilanski, 38, a nearly 17-year veteran of the Algonquin-Lake in the Hills Fire Protection District, died unexpectedly Sunday. Services are scheduled for this weekend and a GoFundMe page has been set up to help the family with funeral expenses. Courtesy of Algonquin-Lake in the Hills Fire Protection District
Firefighter/paramedic John-Paul Kilanski, 38, left, died unexpectedly of natural causes Sunday. Services are scheduled for this weekend. Courtesy of Algonquin-Lake in the Hills Fire Protection District
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