Andrew Wozniak loses battle with cancer


Andrew Wozniak

Former Wicker Park resident, Andrew Wozniak, 59, lost a two-year battle with pancreatic cancer on July 9 in the Denver, CO, area.

The service to honor him will take place on Sun., July 19, starting at 7:30 p.m., Chicago time. It will be live streamed. Everyone is invited to help celebrate his life. 

While living in the Cloisters in the 2100 block of W. North Avenue, he was known for enthusiastically working on engaging community in fun ways. He and Rebecca Wright, his wife, created and ran the former Wicker Park Committee's Scarecrow Extravaganza among other events. 


In 2010, Andrew Wozniak and Rebecca Wright sit, exhausted, after the first day of the Extravaganza with son Remi

Begun in 2008 when their son Remington (Remi) was not yet a year old, the scarecrow event engaged residents, community groups and businesses. The "crows," after being created at A. N. Pritzker school, 2009 W. Schiller St., decorated the greenspace along Damen Ave. for weeks. 


Andrew's love of Halloween even had him "riding up" on porches during "trick or treat" hours one year. 

Starr Spencer, who lives in the North Ave. apartment complex where the Wozniaks resided says, "Living in the Cloisters without Andrew won't be the same. He was a life changing experience for me." 

While Andrew, career wise, has been a jack-of-all-trades in the last decade or so, he transitioned from the financial world of New York to the art world as artist and art dealer when he moved to Chicago.

"He remained passionate about art and his thinking was creative," says his fellow artist Chicago photographer Dimitre, who met Andrew in 1990, before Andrew moved here.

"From the beginning, he was a big force, a ball of energy. No plan was needed, he was up for making things happening on-the-fly," explains Dimitre.


The roses, box and poem

One of Andrew's most thoughtful and charming creations was a Mother's Day package of gifts to Rebecca from then 17-month old Remi.* 

At the time, Rebecca traveled as a consultant and was unhappily separated from her cherished son. While the label of "stay-at-home-dad" was giving Andrew his own anxiety, he wanted to ease the anxiety that Rebecca was experiencing. 

The package consisted of an especially fresh bouquet of roses, a special box and a poem. 

Andrew wanted to make part of the package something that Rebecca could look at, even in the middle of the night hundreds of miles away. It was to remind her that Remi loved her and that all was right with the world. 

In the box, wrapped with a ribbon, was Remi's picture, a logo for his music class and an image of his first visit to church where there was a pancake brunch. It was accompanied by this poem: 

Dear Mommy,

This is a very special gift
that you can never see
The reason it's so special is
It's just for you from me. 

Whenever you are lonely
Or ever feeling blue
You only have to hold this gift
And know I'm hugging you.

You can never unwrap it
Please leave the ribbon tied
Just hold the box close to your heart
It's filled with hugs inside 

Love, Remi 

Now it will be Rebecca and Remi who can remember that the box is filled with hugs from Andrew, for them both.

Andrew Thomas Wozniak was preceded in death by his parents Christa Van Hirstenstein and Thomas Wozniak from Jamestown, NC. He is survived by Rebecca, Remi, Andrew's son Christian and wife Kim, who live in New York, and Andrew's brother Martin. 

Memorial donations may be made online. In addition to these funds helping with Remi's college education, a memorial will be purchased in Andrew's name at Littleton Hospital where he was expertly cared for. 

*This information is from a May 11, 2009, article in the then online publication Examiner for Chicago's Wicker Park and Bucktown, written by Elaine Coorens.



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