Michael and Amy Zinchuk were beloved parents, friends and so much more to many people. After spending over 30 wonderful years together as husband and wife, they left this world together suddenly on Monday, May 1, 2023, in Montgomery County. They reunited with Mike’s mother, Hope Zinchuk, and Amy’s father, Robert Baker, in God’s kingdom. In spirit of Mike Zinchuk, who was known to ramble, this obituary will be unapologetically longwinded.
Family and friends will gather to celebrate Mike and Amy’s lives from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, May 5, 2023, at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, 108 E. Church St., Gifford. A service will be held the following day at 11 a.m. Saturday, May 6, 2023, at St. Paul’s — the same church they were married in on Oct. 10, 1992 — with family greeting friends an hour prior and a luncheon afterwards.
Mike and Amy’s journey started as students at the University of Illinois, where they not only fell in love but formed lifelong friendships and created experiences that became treasured stories that were retold decades later.
Mike was born Jan. 3, 1968, Roger and Hope Zinchuk in Chicago. Amy was born July 6, 1968, to Eileen Owens and Robert Baker and grew up in Gifford.
Mike and Amy left behind their three children, who grew up in Champaign. Known for their penchant for big, friendly dogs, Mike and Amy also left behind two Alaskan Malamutes, Odin and Storm.
Amy was well known in the community for her passion for music and teaching piano. Music was an integral part of Amy’s life at a young age, and she started her college career studying music. After becoming a mother, a role she valued above all else, Amy began teaching friends’ children at their request. Through just word of mouth, Amy’s piano business lasted several decades and grew to 60 students that she would teach in her family’s home. Amy cared deeply about her students and family. She was her family’s rock and their go-to person whenever anything bad or good happened. She passed on her personal brand of music to anyone she would meet, especially her children, and lived her life with the strong belief that dancing is appropriate in nearly every environment.
Mike was truly a one-of-a-kind man who built his life around supporting his children and wife. Mike was fierce in standing up for his family and himself, but was always willing to help a neighbor or offer help without thought of himself. Mike’s knowledge, goofiness and vocabulary were unmatched. An avid reader and lover of history, Mike never stopped learning about individuals who inspired him, and his knowledge of the “Lord of the Rings” series was only surpassed by author J.R.R. Tolkien himself. Through his own actions and encouragement, he instilled values of critical thinking and hard work in his children, whom he was so proud of. Mike and Amy were their own individuals, but they complemented each other in their differences and shared the same values and love for their children.
Mike and Amy left behind three children that will miss them terribly: a daughter, Elizabeth Zinchuk Stultz of Valley Park, Mo., and two sons, Ethan Zinchuk and Matthew Zinchuk, both of Champaign; son-in-law Joshua Stultz of Valley Park, Mo.; and girlfriend Francesca Roelle of Champaign.
Mike and Amy left behind eight siblings with decades of fond and colorful memories. Amy is survived by her brother, Neil Baker of Gifford; sister-in-law, Diane Baker of Gifford; and sister, Julie Baker of Cornelius. Mike is survived by his sister, CPD Lt. Christine Blaul of Chicago; brother-in-law, Jim Blaul of Chicago; brother, Tom Zinchuk of Chicago; brother, Joe Zinchuk of Schaumburg; sister-in-law, Julie Zinchuk of Schaumberg; sister, Mary Sealund of Park Ridge; brother-in-law, Karl Sealund of Park Ridge; brother, Brian Zinchuk of Chicago; sister-in-law, Jenny Zinchuk of Chicago; brother, John Zinchuk of Chicago; and sister-in-law, Molly Zinchuk of Chicago. Mike and Amy had 14 beloved nieces and nephews, along with nine great-nieces and -nephews. They also shared their life with treasured aunts, uncles and cousins.
Memorial donations in Amy’s name can be made to Save the Music Foundation, P.O. Box 2096, New York, NY 10108 (savethemusic.org). Memorial donations in Mike’s name can be made to K9s for Warriors, 114 Camp K9 Road, Ponte Vedra Beach, FL 32081 (k9sforwarriors.org).