26-year-old, killed by heroin, was a gentle soul

Press and Sun Bulletin | Shannon Hazlett

Charles Joseph Levchak — known as CJ — was a quiet, sensitive and kind man whose young life was cut short by heroin.

CJ, of Kirkwood, fatally overdosed March 8 at age 26. But his legacy lives on for friends, family and even for complete strangers — several people, including his aunt, received his donated organs.

Although his addiction, which he battled for about six months, ultimately took a devastating toll, CJ is remembered for his culinary talents as a cook at McGirk's Irish Pub, his musical abilities and his gentle spirit.

"He was just a really loving kid," said his mother, Shelley Levchak.

Two weeks before CJ's accidental death, his girlfriend, Sarah Fabrizio, of Vestal, said she realized she wanted a long-term relationship with him.

"He showed me that a man can be strong, intelligent and sensitive at the same time ... that those men exist," Sarah said. "He didn't care that he was a little different." Continue Reading