Author: Carrie Evans

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.

Mary “Val” Matej

Mary Valdine Matej “Val”, 98, formerly of Hammond, passed away on Monday, March 22, 2021. She is survived by her daughter, Susan (Charles) Freeland and daughter-in-law, Patti Matej; grandchildren: Meredith Freeland, Charles Freeland, Jack (Misti) Freeland, Aaron (Katie) Matej and Kenny (Kristin) Matej; and great grandsons: Zane Pickett, Patrick Freeland, Reagan Freeland, Ben Matej, Harrison Matej, and Thomas Matej. She is preceded in death by her parents, Royal and Kathryn Jones; husband James; and sons: James and Thomas.
Val was a lifelong Calumet area resident, spending only the last 5 years away from the region. She loved spending time at Lake Michigan, on Whiting Beach and at the Dunes. She liked to stay active by doing yoga, and spent much of her time volunteering at her children’s schools and St. Margaret Hospital in Hammond, where she was awarded for putting in more than 5,000 hours of service. She was also a fan of Chicago sports, cheering on the Cubs, the Bulls and the Bears at every chance. Val will forever be remembered for her fierce love for her family and furry four-legged friends. She will be deeply missed by all who knew her.
Funeral services will be Monday, March 29, 2021 at 1:00 PM with visitation from 11:00 until time of service at Calumet Park Funeral Chapel, Merrillville, In. Interment Calumet Park Cemetery. Masks and social distancing required. Please make donations to Brighton Hospice of Fishers, Indiana or Wickshire Ft. Harrison Sr. Living, Indianapolis.

Danny Garibay

Danny Garibay, age 59, of Portage passed away on Thursday, March 18, 2021 with his family by his side.
Danny is survived by his loving wife of 36 years, Debbie; children, Susana (Joe Feliciano) Garibay and Michael “Rocky” (Mary) Garibay; grandchildren, Vic Neville Garibay and Lincoln Arlo Garibay; mother and step-father, Gloria and Larry White; step-grandchildren, Elly and Bannon; siblings Pete (Leoda) Soria Jr., Gary Soria, Penny ( Dave ) Moore, Nina Soria, and Cynthia (Joe) Rodriguez; step siblings, Lorna (Pete) Fotinos and Russell (Kari) White; Many nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends who will dearly miss him.
Danny is preceded in death by his father, Armando Garibay
Danny started his youth as an active young boy in Gary, Indiana. You would find him frequently playing baseball with the neighboring kids. In high school he developed a love for carpentry which would become his future career. Later he joined the Marines for a faithful four years where he learned discipline and camaraderie. He took that discipline and applied it to the gym where he went to at least six days a week. He loved Chicago sports teams with the Cubs being his number one favorite. He had a passion for fixing up classic cars and taking them to car shows, earning many trophies. He was best known from his 4th of July celebrations. He would bring family and friends to his home and put on a firework show that some would say rivaled even the big time shows. Most of all, he loved spending quality time with his grandson Vic (papa coco). Above all, he was a loving son, brother, husband, father, and grandfather.

Funeral Service will be held 11 AM on Tuesday, March 23, 2021, directly at Calumet Park Funeral Chapel with Rev. Lourdu Pasala officiating.
Friends may meet with the family from 4-8 PM on Monday, March 22, 2021 at Calumet Park Funeral Chapel 370 N County Line Road, Hobart IN. Prayer Service at 6 PM.
Interment at Calvary Cemetery

Charles Stephan

Charles A. Stephan, age 92, passed away at his home in Valparaiso on March 6, 2021. He was born April 8, 1928 in Macedonia and immigrated as a young boy with his family to Gary, Indiana.

A proud Lew Wallace High School graduate, Stephan attended classes at the former Gary College, served for six years in the Indiana National Guard, and worked his entire career in supervision at United States Steel and its affiliated enterprises—American Bridge and Universal Atlas Cement and later Lehigh Cement.

Charles married the love of his life, the former Catherine Taseff, in 1954 and they remained married for 58 years until Catherine’s passing in 2013. Together they raised three sons who survive him: Mark (Kimberly) of Carmel; Bill (Carol) of Carmel; and Bob (Rebecca) of Munster. He was the proud grandfather of eight grandchildren: Laura (Scott) Ryan, Michael, Rachel (Matt) Zaudtke, Paul, Suzanne (Brian) East, Will, Nick and Cate, as well as six great grandchildren. He is also survived by his sister, Florence, of Valparaiso and nephew James Stephan of Schererville.

He was preceded in death by his father Clement, mother Mary, brother Steve (Rose) Stephan, as well as nephew Jeffrey Stephan.

The family is planning a private funeral service. Donations in lieu of flowers may be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Victoria “Vicky” Hurtado

Victoria Ramos Hurtado passed away Saturday, February 27th at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach. Vicky, as she was known by her close friends and family, was born in Lares, Puerto Rico in 1940. Her family moved to Indiana at a young age where she met her husband Jesus Hurtado and had 3 children. After his passing in 1975, she moved her family to Miami, Florida. Her love and devotion to her children was her guiding light throughout her life. While raising her children, she also studied to become a Medical Assistant. After reaching her goal, she went on to work at Mount Sinai Medical for 35 years.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Jesus Hurtado; and her parents, Juan and Juana Ramos. She is survived by her loving children: Jesus Hurtado Jr., Maria Hurtado, and David Hurtado; her treasured grandchildren: Jessica, Jesus III, Joshua, and Jeannette; her cherished great-grandson, Markus; and her dear sisters: Carmen, Anna, Luz, and Gina.

A chapel service will be held at 11:00 AM on Monday, March 22 with visitation from 10 until time of service at Calumet Park Funeral Chapel in Merrillville, Indiana. Committal service and interment immediately following at Calumet Park Cemetery, where she will be laid to rest beside her beloved husband.

Arlene Bender

Arlene was born December 15, 1941, Hammond, Indiana, to Shelton and Luella Davis. She died December 15, 2020, Portage, Indiana and will be buried in Concordia Cemetery, Hammond, IN. She was married to Carroll E. Bender on June 12, 1960, Marshall, IL for 40 years.

She had an associate arts degree in nursing and was a registered nurse. She lived for a number of years in Kouts, IN, working part-time as an on-call nurse for local schools. She always loved animals and being outside.

Arlene and Carroll had two children: John (Laura) Bender and Jeffery Bender, who survive, as well as three grandchildren: Tyler Bender, Michael Bender, and Zachariah Bender. Other survivors include her sister, Norma Baum, and two brothers, Allen Davis and Richard Davis. There will be a celebration of life next summer in honor of Arlene.

Robert Smith

Robert D. Smith, Portage/formerly of Gary, age 88, passed away Monday, December 14, 2020. He is survived by his loving children: Mark (Diana) Smith, Scott (Kay) Smith, and Cathy (JR) Hopper; cherished grandchildren: Christopher (Jackie), Daniel, Lauren (Joseph), and Matthew (Amanda); and treasured great grandchildren: Sydney, Harrison, Elizabeth, and Amelia.
He is preceded in death by his beloved wife, Elaine; his parents: Walter and Mary Smith; brothers: Gene and James; and sister, Betty Jo.
Robert was a proud U.S. Army veteran, and worked for U.S. Steel for nearly 30 years before his retirement. He was a devoted and hard-working man who loved his family more than anything, and his grandchildren and great grandchildren were the apple of his eye. He will be dearly missed and fondly remembered by all who knew and loved him.
A private funeral service will be held by the family. Rendina Funeral Home entrusted with arrangements.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Wounded Warrior Project Wounded Warrior Project, P.O. Box 758516, Topeka, Kansas 66675-8516 or American Diabetes Association P.O. Box 7023, Merrifield, VA 22116-7023. For more info, call 219-980-1141.

Peggy Hudak

Peggy Neal Hudak (nee Tomerlin), of Cedar Lake, passed away Monday, December 14, at the age of 86. She was born to Oscar and Gertrude Tomerlin, who precede her in death. She was born in Echols, Kentucky on August 10th, 1934.
Also preceded in death by her son: George Jr., and daughter, Shelly Rebenack; sisters: Betty (late William) Goodall, Nitra (late James) Brakulis, and Litsy (late Neil) Berger; brothers: Charles, Maurice (late Marge), William, Larry, and Michael.
She married her beloved husband, George in 1950, who survives her. She is also survived by her loving children: Jeffrey Hudak, Gregory Hudak, and Lisa (Brian) Meier; daughter-in-law Mary, and son-in-law Richard; dear brothers: Eddie (Marsha) and Phil (Karen); sisters-in-law: Linda, Avonne, and Cheryl; 8 adored grandchildren, 11 cherished great grandchildren, and 4 treasured great-great grandchildren.
Peggy was a loving wife, mother, sister, aunt, grandmother, great grandmother and great-great grandmother. She will be greatly missed and fondly remembered by all who knew and loved her.
There will be a memorial service held at a later date.

Froilan Guzman Jr.

Froilan Guzman Jr. of Merrillville, Indiana passed away peacefully on the morning of Thursday, November 12th, 2020 at the age of 43.

Froi was the Proud Father of Faith (Nathan) Guzman; Beloved Son of Froylan and Abigail (nee Diaz Guzman); Cherished Brother of Anna Rosa (Robert) Ortiz and Gloria (John) Vargas; and Dearest Cousin and Uncle to many.

He is preceded in death by his Uncles: Melesio Guzman and Hector Escalante; his Beloved Grandmother Enedina Silva; Dearest Niece, Erica Ortiz; and Brother-in-Law Javier F. Ortiz.

For those that knew him by Froi, Tio Froi, Froi Dogg, or “Ghost,” he was a person that anyone and everyone knew they could depend on. With his big, warm hugs, boisterous laugh, charming wit, and giving nature, he could always put a smile on your face.

Froilan had an avid love for music, sending his favorite songs to family and friends. Throughout his life, Froilan enjoyed painting and gifting his artworks to his loved ones.

It goes without saying that Froilan had an innumerable amount of friends that he made throughout his life and treated as his own family. The Guzman family is incredibly grateful to those that continued to bring happiness to his life, even during the difficult times.

Froilan Guzman Jr. will be greatly missed by all the hearts he touched.

Family and Friends are to gather for the Visitation Monday, November 16th, 2020 from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. with a Funeral Service at 5:00 p.m. at Calumet Park Funeral Chapel, 7535 Taft Street Merrillville, IN, 46410. Interment will be private.

Due to current health guidelines, the Guzman family is asking that all guests please wear face masks.