Death Classification: Line of Duty Death

Agency: South Park Police Department

Served: 15 years*

Unit of Assignment / Detail: Motorcycle Division

District of Incident (Present Day): 002 - Wentworth

Location of Occurrence: 

Cause of Death: Crash - Motorcycle (Pursuit)

Age at Time of Death: 36


Date of Birth: 18 Jun 1880

Date of Appointment: 1901

Date of Incident: 002 - Wentworth

End of Watch: 07 Oct 1916

Date of Interment: 10 Oct 1916


Interment Details

 Cemetery: Mount Olivet Catholic Cemetery - Chicago, Illinois
 Grave Location: Unknown
 Interment Disposition: Burial


Memorial Details

Superintendent’s Honored Star Case: Panel # B-3

Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Panel # 19

Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 1, Line 48

National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 23-E: 10

Officer Down Memorial Page: Listed



 Military Service: No Military Record Found


Incident & Biographic Details

Park Policeman John Francis Maher, Star #215, aged 36 years, was a 15 year veteran of the South Park Police Department, assigned to the Motorcycle Division.

On October 6, 1916, at 5:30 p.m., Officer Maher was on motorcycle patrol, his primary responsibility was to enforce traffic rules and regulations. Officer Maher was in pursuit of a speeding vehicle on his police motorcycle. The officer was traveling between 40 mph and 50 mph when he struck a vehicle at 37th Street and Michigan Avenue. Officer Maher was thrown from his motorcycle and sustained severe internal injuries. The driver of the auto, Mrs. Modie J. Spiegelman, wife of the Treasurer of Spiegel Home Furnishing Company, was uninjured. Her auto was severely damaged in the crash and Officer Maher’s police motorcycle was almost completely wrecked. He was transported to Mercy Hospital where he succumbed to his injuries in the early morning hours on October 7, 1916.

Officer Maher was laid to rest on October 10, 1916 in Mount Olivet Catholic Cemetery, 2755 West 111th Street, Chicago, Illinois. His grave is located in Grave 3rd S Line, Lot 325, Block –, Section 5.

Park Policeman John Francis Maher, born on June 18,1880, received his Probationary Appointment to the South Park Police Department in 1901.

Officer Maher was survived by his wife, Elizabeth (nee Hilton), age 34 and daughter, Helen E., age 12.

Chicago Police Historical Homicide Database case not found for this incident.

The South Park Police Department, in the City of Chicago, was disbanded on April 30, 1934. On May 1, 1934, the remaining officers were transferred to the Chicago Park District Police Department, which was organized on the same date. Three park district police departments, Lincoln, West, and South were consolidated into the Chicago Park District Police Department. Fallen Officer of the South Park Police Department are currently honored on the memorial wall of the Chicago Police Department as Chicago Police Officers. Their stars are displayed in the Honored Star Case located in the lobby of the Chicago Police Department at 3510 South Michigan Avenue.