Family of slain police officer perseveres two years after his death
BY BECKY SCHLIKERMAN Staff Reporterfirstname.lastname@example.org November 11, 2012 5:40PM
Police Officer Michael Flisk was killed in 2010. His daughter, pictured with him above, treasures his memory.
Updated: December 13, 2012 10:19AM
Peg Flisk carries her father, Chicago Police Officer Michael Flisk, with her wherever she goes.
She can see him in her blue eyes, flecked with yellow just like he had.
She can feel him when she asks him for advice and instinctively makes a decision.
And he will be with her on those important days she never imagined he would miss. She will cut a heart-shaped patch out of her father’s light-blue uniform shirt and sew it into her wedding dress when she one day gets married. She’ll do it next year when she receives her diploma on Father’s Day.
At his funeral, she captivated hundreds of mourners — many of them police officers — with a heartfelt remembrance of her father, an evidence technician who was killed Nov. 26, 2010.
As snow fell outside St. Rita of Cascia Shrine Chapel, Peg Flisk spoke about her father, a lifelong Chicagoan who joked about dusting for prints to find out which of his kids left the peanut-butter jar empty, loved motorcycles and always woke his wife up before he left for work to say “I love you.”
Now, two years later as the family still copes with the tremendous loss of a guy who fixed everybody’s cars and delivered tons of one-liners with impeccable timing, they’re proud to say they’re living their lives just as he would have expected them to.
Peg Flisk, 22, is a senior at DePaul University. She hopes to go to law school. The oldest in the family, Michael, 26, is an Amtrak police officer with a wife and new baby; Tim, 22, is a stationary engineer, and Brian, 19, is a student at St. Ambrose University in Iowa.
“He has got to be smiling in heaven. They’re all on a wonderful path,” said their mother, Nora Flisk, who laughs heartily when she tells of her husband’s sweet gestures — he’d call her with a joke of the day every day — and his idiosyncrasies — he was constantly losing his keys.
“I know Mike would want us to remain positive,” Nora Flisk said. “We still maintain that.”
That attitude has propelled Peg, known to her dad as “my princess Peg.” She returned to Marquette University and finished her classes weeks after he was killed.
“I just knew that’s what my dad would have wanted me to do. I knew he would have been mad if I wouldn’t have stuck it out there regardless of the circumstances,” she said.
But she wanted to be close to home, and after finishing the semester she transferred to DePaul with the help of the 100 Club of Chicago, which provides, among other things, financial assistance to the families of fallen cops, firefighters and other law-enforcement officials.
The group helped provide Peg with a full scholarship to the school and living expenses, said Joe Ahern, the club’s CEO. The group also provides a scholarship to Peg’s younger brother.
Peg Flisk is speaking Thursday at the club’s “Chicago’s Finest” benefit.
Flisk, 46, a 20-year veteran of the force, and former Chicago Housing Authority Police Officer Stephen Peters were killed as Flisk dusted for fingerprints at the scene of a burglary to Peters’ car.
Timothy Herring Jr. allegedly broke into the South Chicago garage then returned to the scene. Herring was charged with the murders and the case is ongoing.
At the family’s Beverly home, there are constant reminders of Flisk, many of them motorized. There’s his prized Harley-Davidson, a surprise gift he received the last Christmas he spent with his family, and Peg’s first car, a 1989 beige Ford Mustang bought on eBay.
The car doesn’t run anymore, but Peg can’t bear to let it go.
“It was so funny that my dad showed up with this car for me and we spent the whole summer fixing it up so I’d be able to have it for the school year. It’s just one of the greatest lasting memories I have of him,” she said.
Then there’s the motorcycle, the first Harley-Davidson Flisk owned though he was obsessed with the motorcycles. “I actually had braces for four years, and it was always a running joke that it was either Peg gets braces or Dad gets a Harley, and so for four years he called me Harley,” Peg said.
Though Nora, 48, had been scared of the motorcycle and only got on it once with her husband, she took lessons and has ridden it.
“He would probably say to me ‘You shouldn’t be on that motorcycle. You have four kids,’ ” she said, laughing. “I think somewhere he’s looking down and smiling.”