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 15th 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 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 designated Certified Pre-Planning Consultant (CPC) with the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA), and a Certified Cremation Specialist by the Cremation Association of North America. A consummate student, John is the recipient of the 2020 Career Development Award from the Funeral Service Foundation. Professional memberships include the the National Funeral Director's Association (NFDA), the Illinois, the Indiana, and the Cook County Funeral Director's Associations, respectively (IFDA; INFDA; CCFDA). John holds licensure 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.