Author: Carrie Evans

Sandra Smoot

Sandra S. Smoot (nee Jackson), age 84, of Crown Point, Indiana, passed away peacefully at home on Tuesday, June 22, 2021, after a brief illness.

Sandra is survived by her loving daughters: Jami (Ronald) Naughgle, Lori Johnson, and Sherri (David) Ward; six grandchildren: Joel (Meredith) Naughgle, Bethany (David) Gill, Rachel Johnson, Derek Johnson, Erika Ward, and Andrea Ward; six great-grandchildren; sister-in-law, Jeanne Jackson Blane; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Sandra was preceded in death by her loving husband of 62 years, Walter Smoot; her parents, E. W. and Vivian Jackson; her brother, Dick Jackson; and her sister, Bonnie Leas.

Sandra was born on December 28, 1936, in Gary, Indiana. She graduated from Lew Wallace High School and earned a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree from Indiana University. Sandra retired after 28 years as a teacher in the Merrillville Community School Corporation. We will forever miss her sweet nature, joyful laughter, and witty one-liners.

Visitation will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, July 8, 2021, at Calumet Park Funeral Chapel, 7535 Taft Street, Merrillville, Indiana. The service will immediately follow the visitation at 11:30 a.m. with Reverend Linda Jackson officiating. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society (

Jerome Otawka

Jerome J. Otawka, age 85, of Crown Point, IN, passed away Saturday, June 5th 2021. He was born July 13th, 1935 in Gary, IN to the late John and Helen Otawka. In 1953, he graduated from St. Procopius Academy (now Benet Academy) in Lisle, Illinois. He served active duty in the US Army from 13 May 1958 to 6 May 1960 and was honorably discharged in April 1964. Jerome worked at US Steel in Gary for 47 years and 23 days, retiring from his position as a machinist in the electrical shop in 2000. He was a member of Ss. Peter and Paul Parish in Merrillville.

He is survived by sister, Marie (Arnold) Rettig; nieces: Debra (Ronald) Simko, Cynthia Martinez, Janice (Robert) Nikolich, Susan (William) Cooper, Christine Rettig; nephew, Richard Rettig; and ten (plus two on the way!) grand nieces and nephews.

Jerome enjoyed vehicles, photography, food, Slovak culture, and reminiscing about his military service, especially winning rifle matches and being stationed at Warner Barracks in Bamberg, Germany. Many in Northwest Indiana knew him as ‘Uncle Jerry’. He was buried with full military honors in Calumet Park Cemetery, Merrillville, Indiana.

Jule Bell Jr.

Jule L. Bell, Jr., “Buddy” 62, of Crown Point, passed away peacefully on Friday, May 28, 2021. He was born on April 20, 1959, in Hammond to Jule and Patricia Bell of St. John.
He is survived by his loving wife of 34 years, Anne (nee Kerekes); his parents; and siblings: Jana (Robert) Larkin, David (Dawn) Bell and Scott (Sara) Bell. He was the proud uncle and great uncle of many nieces and nephews.
Jule attended St. Joseph Catholic School in Hammond and Dyer, was a graduate of Lake Central High School in St. John, and attended Marquette University.
“Buddy” was born with an innate ability to fix things and he put his talents to work through his proprietorship of Bell Refrigeration in Northwest Indiana. He was respected for his knowledge, and loved for his big heart and ability to make people smile. He was ready to help anyone when needed. His sense of humor and smile will be greatly missed.
A memorial visitation will be held Friday, June 25th from 10 am to 12:30 pm at Calumet Park Funeral Chapel, 7535 Taft Street, Merrillville. A private interment will follow at Calumet Park Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to Humane Indiana.

David Kent Springmann

David “Dave” Kent Springmann, age 66, passed away peacefully at home in Valparaiso, Indiana surrounded by his family, on Wednesday, May 26, 2021. He succumbed to a rare gastric cancer which he battled for over a year.
Dave was born in 1954 in Gary, Indiana to Attorney Glenn W. Springmann and Ruth (nee Warner) Springmann. He graduated from William A. Wirt High School in 1972. While in high school, he was active in the Steel City Chapter of the Order of DeMolay, attaining the rank of Master Councilor. On August 27, 1974 he met the love of his life, Theresa Marie Lazar, in a Microeconomics class at Indiana University Northwest (IUN). Dave graduated from IUN with a B.A. degree in Business in 1977. While in college, Dave was active in the business fraternity, Delta Sigma Pi, serving as Chapter President and President of his pledge class. Dave and Theresa married in 1980 at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana after Theresa graduated from the Law School. In 1989, David earned his MBA degree from DePaul University in Chicago. In 1990, Dave became a CPA. Over the years he maintained membership and served as an officer with the Indiana CPA Society, American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), Financial Executives International (FEI) and Institute of Management Accountants (IMA). He practiced in various capacities for companies in Chicago, Portage, Valparaiso and Fort Wayne in a career that spanned 40 years. His proudest professional achievement was helping to start Okaya Electric America, Inc. in Valparaiso for its Japanese parent in 1990. The company has flourished over the years and remains in business to this day.
Dave retired from accounting in 2016 while living in Fort Wayne. He became a volunteer with various charities including the Knights of Columbus Saint Vincent Council #11353, Saint Vincent DePaul Society of Fort Wayne and Carpenter’s Sons. He was also a member of Rotary International chapters in Valparaiso, Fort Wayne and Van Wert, Ohio and received the Rotary’s Paul Harris Fellow Award. After living and working in Fort Wayne for 15 years, Dave and Theresa returned to Valparaiso in 2018 and rejoined Saint Paul Catholic Church. Dave joined the Knights of Columbus Valparaiso Council 738 and the Saint Paul Catholic Church Men’s Club, serving as President in 2019-20.
He is survived by his wife of 41 years, the Hon. Theresa Lazar Springmann, and sons Glenn “Gus” Francis (Jeana) Springmann of Chicago, Illinois and Anthony “Tony” Kent (Cassidy) Springmann of Carmel, Indiana. Also surviving are his Springmann nephews, niece, great nephews and great niece, sister-in-law Joyce Springmann of Racine, Wisconsin, and a multitude of Lazar family members. His older brother, Thomas “Tom” E. Springmann, predeceased him in 2007.
Dave’s most cherished memories were of time spent with his family. He used to say that “life really began when our sons were born!” His boys were his pride and joy. He will be remembered by all who knew him for his kindness, generosity and good humor. His only regret in life: not growing up to play football for the Chicago Bears.
A private interment service will be held for immediate family at Calumet Park Cemetery in Merrillville, Indiana on June 9, 2021. There will be a Celebration of Life Visitation at Saint Paul Catholic Church in Valparaiso on Tuesday, June 29, 2021 at 9:00 AM CST. A Memorial Mass will follow at 10:00 AM CST, with the Reverend Jeff Burton officiating. Luncheon will follow at the Valparaiso Country Club.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Saint Paul Catholic School in Valparaiso, Bishop Dwenger High School in Fort Wayne, the VNA of NWI Hospice in Valparaiso or The University of Chicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center in Chicago.

Martha “Marcy” Baron

Martha A. Baron, age 74, of Demotte Indiana passed away Wednesday, April 7, 2021. She was born on Feb 13, 1947 in Presque Isle, Maine, later moving to Ohio, then Indiana. She was married to John Baron Jr who passed away on January 3 1998. She is survived by three step-sons, Jim Baron, Don Baron, John Baron; and 2 sisters Debbie (Jeff) Zellers and Becky Yakel.

Funeral services will be held Friday, April 16, 2021 at 1:00pm at Calumet Park Funeral Chapel, 7535 Taft St, Merrillville, IN. Interment will follow at McCool Cemetery, Portage, IN. Visitation will be from 10:00am-1:00pm at Calumet Park Funeral Chapel.

Mary Godoy

Mary Godoy (nee Pantoja) age 96, passed away peacefully at home on Thursday, April 1, 2021 with her loving family by her side.
She is survived by her loving children: Del Godoy (and grandcat, Bella), Christina (Thomas) Felix, Joseph Santos (Sandy) Godoy Jr., Susan Godoy, and Richard Mota; grandchildren: Shirley Ann (Luis) Camacho, Christine (Elvis) Rodriguez, Nicole Kozel Godoy, Tonya (Mark) Shea Pierce, and Todd Williamson; and great-grandchildren: Sydnie, Gabriel, Arianna, Christian, Alexis, Isabella, Morrissa, Lenon, Jake, and Brooke. She is preceded in death by her brother, Carl Pantoja.
She will be dearly missed and fondly remembered by all who knew her.
She will be laid to rest at Calumet Park Cemetery with her family and friends by her side. Donations may be made to Hospice of the Calumet Area.