John is a first generation Funeral Director and the youngest of four children born to Stephen and Winifred Gardner Ligda. Along with his brothers and sister, John was raised in southwest suburban Evergreen Park and graduated from Most Holy Redeemer Elementary School. Like his brothers before him, John attended Brother Rice High School in Chicago where he was an active member of the Irish Christian Brother's Crusader Community. A 2004 graduate of Saint Joseph's College, Rensselaer, Indiana, John holds a Bachelor and Master of Arts degrees in Roman Catholic Church Music & Liturgy, and is a two-time academic scholarship recipient of the National Association of Pastoral Musicians (NPM) in Washington, D.C. He is in his 16th year as Organist & Director of Music at The Parish of Saint Joseph in south suburban Homewood, Illinois. He served two terms as Sub-Dean and was subsequently elected Dean of the Chicago Chapter of the American Guild of Organists (AGO) in 2017. In addition to the AGO, John serves as Treasurer of the Southwest Pastoral Musicians, a consortium of Roman Catholic Church musicians serving parishes in the Archdiocese of Chicago.
John is a graduate of the Worsham College of Mortuary Science in Wheeling, Illinois. Since 2009 he has served a handful of notable, high profile firms throughout Chicagoland. He is an experienced trade embalmer, a graduate of the Fountain National Academy of Professional Embalming Skills, and is an embalming consultant for the Frigid Fluid Company based in Northlake, Illinois. John is a designated Certified Pre-Planning Consultant (CPC) by the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA), and a Certified Cremation Specialist by the Cremation Association of North America. A consummate student, he is the recipient of the 2020 Career Development Award from the Funeral Service Foundation. Professional memberships include the Academy of Professional Funeral Service Practice (APFSP), National Funeral Director's Association (NFDA), the Illinois, the Indiana, and the Cook County Funeral Director's Associations, respectively (IFDA; INFDA; CCFDA). John holds licenses as a Funeral Director & Embalmer in two (2) states - Illinois and Indiana - and he is a member of Local 727 (Teamsters Joint Council 25) which represents several hundred Funeral Directors, Embalmers, Chauffeurs, and Livery Agents throughout metropolitan Chicagoland.