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Family With Ailing Mom And Autistic Son Loses Father, And Donors Step Up

By Kelly Bauer | March 17, 2017 2:23pm
 The Narko family is mourning the loss of father and husband Kevin (far left) while also coping with an array of additional expenses.
The Narko family is mourning the loss of father and husband Kevin (far left) while also coping with an array of additional expenses.
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GoFundMe

CHICAGO — Thousands of dollars have been donated to help the family of 52-year-old Lincoln Park father and attorney Kevin Narko, found dead Thursday after he had been missing for weeks.

The donations are flowing into a GoFundMe campaign for the family, an online fundraiser that explains the dire situation Narko's family is now in: He was a key caregiver to his autistic adult son and his wife, who is battling multiple sclerosis.

The GoFundMe has raised more than $40,000 toward its $100,000 goal. The money will be used to help Narko's family, who face financial challenges in his absence.

Narko had been missing since Jan. 30, when he was last seen jogging near the water around North Avenue Beach, police said. His body was found Thursday, fundraising organizer Daniel Cotter wrote on Narko's GoFundMe page.

Narko had heart problems last year, and his family said they believe he fell in the water during a medical emergency. His cause of death has not been determined. 

Narko and his wife, Kathleen Dillon Narko, were married 22 years and had two sons, now 19 and 20 years old.

Narko was close with his children, Kathleen Narko said. He'd watch every game their younger son played in high school, and he would jog or run with their older son, she said.

“He is generous to a fault. He is kind and helpful to others,” Kathleen said. “Always doing the right thing, always willing to help out. He also had a great sense of humor. Very witty. Just a good person.”

Although Kathleen is employed, Narko was the family's primary provider, she said.

Narko's wife and son require 24-hour assistance, something Narko used to help them with in the evenings and on the weekends. The family has had to hire people to help with their care, and Kathleen said the expense has been "astronomical."

The family's younger son is in college, another expense the family is trying to figure out how to cover, Kathleen said.

Money from the GoFundMe will go toward paying their extra medical costs, living expenses and college tuition, Kathleen said.

“We are extremely grateful to everyone who has contributed. It really brings tears to my eyes,” Kathleen said. “So many people are honoring Kevin’s memory and helping us. We’re just so grateful.”

The campaign was started by Cotter, who has known Kathleen for more than a decade, with the help of her sisters and friends.

"He was very proud of his kids and his family," Cotter said. He was "a really good guy."

The attention the campaign has received has been "incredible," Kathleen said. More than 350 people have donated so far, with some donating $1,000 or more.

“It’s really renewed my faith in the goodness of people. [It's] just been a tremendous outpouring of love and support for Kevin and my family,” Kathleen said. “What happened is so horrible, [and] this has been such a positive reaction. It really humbles me.”