James Stephen Gazdick, Sr., son of Stephen and Mary (Tokar) Gazdick, was born on June 21, 1938 in East Chicago, Indiana and passed away peacefully at home on Monday March 1, 2021. He attended Assumption Grade School in East Chicago, Indiana through age twelve and moved to La Porte, Indiana where he attended St. Joseph Grade School. Jim graduated from La Porte High School in 1956. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in 1960 followed by his Master’s degree from Ball State University.
On July 1, 1961, Jim married Carolyn Cernel who survives. Also surviving are his children, Stephen (Chris) Gazdick of La Porte, James (Karen) Gazdick, Jr. of La Porte, and Susan (Patrick) McCoy of La Porte; six grandchildren, Lauren Willis, Michael Gazdick, Nicholas and Joseph Gazdick, and Alex and Joshua McCoy; two great-grandchildren, Madelyn and Morgan Willis; a sister, Marian Fleming of La Porte; as well as several nieces and nephews. Jim was preceded in death by his parents and grandson/godson, Zachary James McCoy.
Jim taught school at Aylesworth Jr High in Portage, Indiana, from 1960-1971 where he also coached football and basketball at the junior high and high school levels. In 1971 through 1993 he taught school at Kesling Middle School where he coached freshman football for 6-7 years before becoming assistant high school football coach for seven years.
Jim was a member of St. Joseph Catholic Church and Phi Delta Kappa. He played softball for many years and enjoyed fishing in Kentucky with his family and traveling to Branson, Missouri. He loved the land he farmed from 1966 through 2003 and his dog Brandi, who was his faithful companion.
Jim dearly loved his wife, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He was always there to support his children to teach them, and to allow them to learn from their own mistakes. Jim was a role model for what makes a “Good Son, Good Husband, Good Father and Good Man”
Cremation has taken place and a private family service will be held. Arrangements have been entrusted to Frank L. Keszei Funeral Home, Essling Chapel, 1117 Indiana Avenue, La Porte, Indiana. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Tuesday, March 9, 2021, at St. Joseph Parish in La Porte. Burial will follow in St. Joseph Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to St. Joseph Catholic Church, 109 C Street, La Porte, Indiana 46350.
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