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Services held for former Michigan wrestler Chrzanowski

Services were held Saturday afternoon, Jan. 23, for Justin Chrzanowski, former University of Michigan wrestler-turned-actor who died Jan. 9. He was 28.

Justin Chrzanowski
The funeral was held at Elton Black & Son Funeral Home in Highland, Mich. Visitation had taken place Thursday, Friday and Saturday before the service.

Born in April 1987 in Metamora, Mich., Chrzanowski wrestled at Lapeer West High School, where he compiled a 228-11 overall record. He was a four-time Michigan state finalist, winning back-to-back titles in 2003 (130 pounds) and 2004 (135). Those same years Chrzanowski earned Cadet Nationals Freestyle All-American honors.

At Michigan, Chrzanowski wrestled at 141 and 149 pounds from 2005-2009. He earned multiple Academic All-Big Ten, and U-M Athletic Academic Achievement honors during his time in Ann Arbor. In his LinkedIn.com bio, Chrzanowski listed his activities while at Michigan as including Motts Children's Hospital, Ozone House, Mock Rock and Light Works Film Festival as well as wrestling.

When asked in a Michigan wrestling "Off the Mat" feature what he liked about wrestling for the Wolverines, Chrzanowski responded, "Everything. The guys on the team, everyone gets along really well. I'd probably say that the team unity is the best thing. Every single person is best friends with everybody else. We all go through the same things -- regardless of whether Eric (Tannenbaum) is going to be a doctor and I'm going to be a rock star -- our day is the same. We go to class until 3 p.m., go to practice, go to study table, and just hang out. Our lives basically are all the same right now. We go through everything together."

Since graduating from Michigan in 2010 with a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Film/Cinema/Video Studies, Chrzanowski's professional career had focused on acting and working with children. In fact, the summary on his LinkedIn page stated: "I act and work with kids!" His most recent listing had him serving as being Director of Education at Young Actors Camp in Los Angeles since May 2012, and as being registered with the Honolulu-based Kathy Muller Modeling and Talent Agent since 2014. According to his page at Internet Movie Database (imdb.com), Chrzanowski had been involved in various movie and TV projects as an actor and in behind-the-scenes jobs.

The official University of Michigan wrestling Facebook page had the following message: "Like so many of you, we are grieving the sudden passing of Wolverine alum Justin Chrzanowski. He was one of a kind -- quirky, funny and outgoing -- and will be missed by many."

Justin Chrzanowski
Kellen Russell, three-time NCAA champ, paid tribute to his former Michigan teammate Chrzanowski (as well as wrestler Jared Platt, who lost his battle with cancer Friday) with this message on his Facebook page: "The world lost two bright rays of light this past week. They both were brothers to me, anyone who has ever wrestled or seen wrestlers knows that the bond is one of true brotherly love. We shared many ups and downs together but ups were always better with both Justin and Jared around and the lows never felt as low when I was with them. They were both the life of the party and where ever they were there was sure to be laughs. We shared the misery of cutting weight and hard workouts but we also shared in the celebration of victory and the laughter from the close call the night before. I know that heaven is a much funnier place with Justin and Jared there. My thoughts and prayers go out to both the Platt and Chrzanowski families. I love and miss you both."

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