Edward Gardner died Monday night after being hit by a limousine along the Tri-state Tollway in Schiller Park.
His best friend, Jim Gollwitzer, says Gardner loved animals and cars and was on his way to work on a vehicle he was restoring when he spotted the ducks.
"It was no surprise what he did, that he would risk his life to save another. That's the kind of guy he was. Just an amazing spirit," said Gollwitzer.
Gardner was in a car club. Fellow members are finishing his car project for him as a way to honor his memory.
Illinois State Police say the limousine driver has not been cited.