Chief James Joseph Knesek Sr. was outgoing and always wanted to help people. Jim was a great leader and a dedicated public servant who led by example and cared about his men. He was a U.S. Army veteran and served in Virginia as a marine engineer specialist. After working as a firefighter in Virginia and Wisconsin air bases, he returned to Munster, working his way up the ranks to become the town’s director of operations.
Jim joined the Munster Fire Department on November 1, 1979, took over the public works on July 31, 1995, and in 2005 he was named the seventh chief of the Munster Fire Department. Under his direction, both departments made advancements with equipment, technology, and best practices. Jim was a graduate of Lewis University with a degree in fire science and public administration. He looked out for all of his men on the fire and public works department and did what was right, never thinking of himself in the process. Jim was dedicated to the residents of Munster for 34 of his 59 years.
James Knesek Sr., a lifelong resident of Munster, Indiana, was survived by his loving wife of 29 years, Julie, who sadly passed away just six months after him on August 18, 2014. James Knesek Sr. was the proud and loving father of James Joseph Knesek, Jr.; cherished brother of Donna (Nick) Krizmanic, Gerald (Andrea) Knesek, Karen (Ron) Smith and Mark (Christine) Knesek; caring brother-in-law of Sandra (Dale) Carlson and Jeanne (Don) Nadzieja; devoted uncle to numerous nieces and nephews.
He was a basketball referee with the IHSAA and coached C.Y.O. basketball. He was a member of Indiana Volunteer Firefighters Association, Lake County Fire Chiefs Association and MABAS 24. Jim enjoyed family trips to Siesta Key, Florida, and was a devout Catholic. Jim lived his dream in the town he loved and grew up in.
May 21, 1954 – February 8, 2014.