John Was a Big Man With a Big Heart

By Ron Fanfair, Toronto Police Service Published: 4:58 p.m. December 4, 2013
Updated: 2 p.m. December 5, 2013

Just a day before he died, Const. John Zivcic phoned fellow officer Const. Jamie Juhasz, who is expecting her first child, to see how she was doing and also inquire if he could visit her in hospital.

Four men in business suits stand in a hallway
Consts. Brian Klein-Horsman, Craig McDonald, Ryan Taylor and John Zivcic

Zivcic was a fellow Traffic officer at 22 Division for nearly two years, and even though they drove in separate cars, they often worked together on the road.

“We backed each other up and attended the same traffic collisions and infractions scenes,” the grieving officer recalled.

Juhasz said she regarded Zivcic with the respect reserved for a big brother.

“The thing that I will always remember John for is the utmost respect he showed to me and other officers,” she said.

“Whenever he started a shift, he would always shake your hand with an accompanying ‘good morning, good afternoon or goodnight.’ He was just so humble, polite and courteous… He was like a big brother to me and I will miss him.”

Sgt. Darla Tannahill was Zivcic’s “B” platoon supervisor at 22 Division for a year before transferring to headquarters.

“John was a lot of fun and just a dream person to supervise because he always put his hand up first for any call,” she said.

“He always wanted to help and he was such a big man with a big heart and a sense of humour to match.”

Fighting back tears, Tannahill said Zivcic was part of an incredibly close platoon.

“They were young, eager and hard-working and they did lots of things together, including going on camping trips,” she added.

“That platoon was magical and now part of that magic is gone.”

That platoon was magical and now part of that magic is gone

Man in uniform holds up his badge to camera near his face
Const. John Zivcic displays his new badge at his graduation ceremony

Sgt. Ray Direnzo, who was on Zivcic’s platoon, said the fallen officer was larger than life.

“John was a big guy with a big heart,” he said.

“He lit up a room and he was very positive.”

Const. Kerry Reymes, of Operational Services, was in Zivcic’s graduating class.

“John was truly an all-round amazing person who was very well liked by every member in our class. The guy was loving and he had a big heart.”

S/Sgt. Doug Macdonald saw Zivcic three days before he was involved in a collision on Bloor St. W. near the West Mall.

The seven-year Service member succumbed to his injuries in hospital on Dec. 2.

“We had a chat and he bought me a coffee,” recalled Macdonald.

“John was hard-working, friendly and very professional in everything he did.”

John carried a big smile on his face and I can’t remember ever seeing him in a bad mood

Const. Ryan Taylor and the deceased were Primary Response Unit partners for about 18 months.

“John carried a big smile on his face and I can’t remember ever seeing him in a bad mood,” said Taylor.

“He also had lots of energy which was contagious.”

Supt. Francis Bergen, the unit commander at 22 Division, thanked Service members and the public for their unwavering support through phone calls, flowers and food.

“We, as a Division, have had to cope with many realities,” he said.

“Although we sometimes may like to think the world revolves around only south Etobicoke, we have been constantly reminded that there is an amazing support mechanism at every corner of this vast Service and the City of Toronto. We have been able to maintain continuity because we have received so much support from each and every one of you.”

Condolences have also been pouring in from law enforcement agencies across North America, some of whom will be represented at the funeral on Monday, Dec. 9 at the Toronto Congress Centre, North Building, 650 Dixon Rd, starting at 11 a.m.

A public visitation will take place on Sunday, Dec. 8 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Delmoro Funeral Home, 61 Beverly Hills Dr.

Chief Bill Blair, who was out of the country when Zivcic died, met with the family on Dec. 4.

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