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Peter Pohl, patriarch of largest Filipino family in Brighton Park, killed in car crash

“He has a stoic type of face, but inside he’s pure, he’s good, he’s kind and so gentle,” Pohl’s wife said.

Peter Pohl, who was a captain in the Illinois Police Reserves, died in a crash Aug. 26, 2019 in Brighton Park.
Peter Pohl, who was a captain in the Illinois Police Reserves, died in a crash Aug. 26, 2019 in Brighton Park.
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Peter Pedro Pohl made his mark in Chicago.

His family says he was the patriarch of the largest — and possibly first — Filipino family in Brighton Park on the Southwest Side.

Pohl and his wife of 54 years raised five children and sent them all to catholic school and college.

“How did he do it? Because they were hardworking, they saved and sacrificed. And they let their kids know that education and God are important things in life,” his daughter Jo Ann Pohl-Moran said.

Peter Pohl, 78, was killed Monday morning when the vehicle he was driving was t-boned at 36th Place and California Avenue, authorities said. He was taken to Mt. Sinai Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

After the collision, the car that struck him lost control, crashed into a pole and burst into flames, police said. Its driver, who suffered a broken knee, was driving while uninsured, according to police.

Pohl had been driving to pick up his niece for an interview at Weiss Memorial Hospital, family said.

Pohl is survived by his wife, 77-year-old Patricia Pohl, his five adult children and 10 grandchildren.

They recalled him fondly as a hard worker who spent his career as a postal sorter with UPS, and as a faithful man who served as a eucharistic minister at Our Lady of Fatima.

Even in retirement, Pohl was inspired by his son Peter, who became a Chicago police officer, and enrolled in the Illinois Police Reserves, Jo Ann Pohl-Moran said. Pohl, a captain, had just bought himself a new uniform for a reserves graduation ceremony this Friday.

Pohl met his wife in the Philippines while he was a college student and she was in nursing school. He was her patient.

After having two children, they moved to the U.S. for better opportunities and settled in Douglas Park on the South Side. Patricia Pohl worked as a nurse at then-Cook County Hospital and Mt. Sinai Hospital. The pair then moved farther south to Brighton Park, where they laid their roots.

Patricia Pohl said several Filipino families moved into the neighborhood after them, but that their family was the largest.

Peter Pohl was a postal sorter for 37 years at UPS in Chicago, his family said. Pohl, not knowing what a postal sorter was, showed up on the first day of work in a suit and tie because he wanted to make a good impression, Jo Ann Pohl-Moran recalled.

He told his boss the job wasn’t what he signed up for, but he rolled up his sleeves and did the heavy lifting, Pohl-Moran said. “He stuck it out, had more kids, saved money and taught us how to be good people.”

Pohl was outwardly stern, but was a very kind man, Patricia Pohl said.

“He has a stoic type of face, but inside he’s pure, he’s good, he’s kind and so gentle,” she said.

Pohl also loved to dance, and would often break into the Electric Slide at parties, family said.

His son-in-law Tim Moran recalled that Pohl kept close to his Filipino roots.

“He carried some of those old world things,” Moran said. “He came from nothing, came to America and didn’t forget where he came from.”

Every year, Pohl would fill several Balikbayan boxes to be shipped back to the Philippines, Moran said. The boxes are traditionally filled with goods and sent by overseas Filipinos back home.

Four years ago, Peter and Patricia Pohl returned to the church in the Philippines in which they were married 50 years previously, and re-performed their vows.

Although Peter Pohl did not complete college, he always made education a priority for his kids and grandkids. Pohl and his wife have a college savings account for each of their 10 grandchildren, Patricia Pohl said.

“For Christmas, we don’t give material gifts,” she said. Pohl would deposit $100 to each of their accounts instead. “No one would ever do that for anyone except this husband of mine,” she said.

Visitation is scheduled for 3 p.m. Friday at Curley Funeral Home, 6116 W. 111th St. in Chicago Ridge. Funeral services and Mass are at 10 a.m. Saturday at Our Lady of Fatima Church, 2751 W. 38th Pl.