James Walter Polowy, 74, of Long Grove, Illinois, died Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021.
In 1980, Polowy repeatedly dived into the Miami Canal in Hialeah, Florida, to save a 49-year-old woman from drowning after her vehicle submerged, receiving the Carnegie Medal for his actions.
Polowy, then a 32-year-old graphic designer, first swam to where he thought the car was located and dived into the water, but wasn’t able to locate the vehicle. He surfaced. Polowy located the car after diving again but was forced to return to the surface. After diving twice more, he freed the unconscious driver and towed her to the bank, where she was revived.
Polowy was born on Feb. 23, 1947 to Harold and Bernice Polowy. In 1974, he married Susan J. Carlstrand at Glenview Community Church in Glenview, Illinois. Together, the Polowys had two children, Jamie and Brady.
He was beloved by his kids and actively involved in their sports including soccer, softball, baseball, and basketball. Polowy and his children also shared a love for art and design.
He is survived by his wife; children; four grandchildren, and many extended family members. Polowy is preceded in death by his sister, Patty Cisek; brother-in-law, Mike Cisek; and nephew, Brian Cisek.