Thomas J Szawara

April 15, 1936 ~ August 14, 2018 (age 82)

Thomas Joseph Szawara, 82, of La Porte, passed away peacefully on August 14, 2018, in his home.

Tom (known by most as “TJ”) was born on April 15, 1936 in La Porte to Thomas and Helen (Williams) Szawara, who preceded him in death. He is survived by Eugenia (Saliwonczyk) Szawara of LaPorte, whom he married on June 16, 1956. TJ is also survived by daughter, Connie Szawara of La Porte; son, Thomas Szawara of La Porte; and daughter, Debra Suzie (Brad) Malwin of Michigan City; brother, Ted (Joyce) Szawara of La Porte; sister, Dr. Jill Szawara of Geneseo, New York; and granddaughters, Amy Malwin and Erin Malwin of Michigan City, whom he adored.

TJ graduated from La Porte High School, and was extremely athletic in his younger years, winning a baseball scholarship to college in Michigan. He also spent some college time in Kentucky, after which he played Fast Pitch Softball locally for many years. TJ remained an avid sports fan, the Chicago White Sox and Notre Dame his beloved teams. He often took his family to White Sox spring training games in Florida and then later in Arizona. Traveling with his identical twin granddaughters delighted him, as did hosting large family pool parties where he taught his granddaughters how to swim. He never missed their softball games or swim meets, where he was said to be the loudest voice in the crowd, and he spent time with them whenever he could.

TJ retired from Midwest Steel, a division of National Steel, and devoted much of his time after retirement as director of RSVP/ Catholic Family Charities for LaPorte and Starke counties, managing social works projects, such as building wheelchair ramps for citizens who need them. Family and service to community were his passions and he especially doted on his granddaughters. He read constantly, and was never to be found at home without a book in his hands.

Visitation will be from 4-7 p.m., Sunday, August 19, 2018, at Frank L. Keszei Funeral Home, Essling Chapel, 1117 Indiana Avenue, La Porte, Indiana.  A Parish Rosary will be recited at 4:00pm.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10 a.m., Monday, August 20, 2018, at St. Joseph Catholic Church, 109 C Street, La Porte, Indiana. Family and friends may gather at 9a.m. in the funeral home on Monday. Reverend Ian Williams will officiate.  Burial will follow in St. Joseph Catholic Cemetery.

Memorial contributions may be made in his name to Catholic Charities, Diocese of Gary.

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