Author: Marcia Ochoa

Booker T. Lewis

Booker T. Lewis was born September 29, 1926, on the Ames Plantation in Grand Junction, Tennessee to the union of sharecroppers Charlie Lewis and Betty Price Lewis. He was the second child of nine siblings.  Booker completed the sixth grade at the local elementary school.  Booker accepted Christ at an early age.

In 1944, Booker moved to Cincinnati, Ohio where he lived with his maternal aunt and uncle, Georgia Price Bunton and Pete Bunton. He held several jobs in Cincinnati until he joined the United States Army in 1950.  During his service with the United States Army, he served in the Korean War where he was promoted to the rank of Staff Sergeant in charge of the Motor Pool Mechanics.  He was honorably discharged from the United States Army in 1952.

Booker then moved to Chicago, Illinois in 1952 where he lived with his paternal aunt and uncle Velma Lewis Mason and Tom Mason. There, he worked temporary jobs at and around the Chicago Stock Yards until he found his dream job.

In 1953, Booker began employment as a machine mechanic with People’s Gas Light and Coke Company of Chicago, where he operated an air jack hammer for the street work crews. He loved his job and the fellowship of his coworkers. He was always willing to take additional assignments for over-time and worked many of his off days.  He was so energetic and enthusiastic about his work, his co-workers nicknamed him “Jitter Bug”.

In 1954, Booker met and married Waurene Reaves. Waurene was the love of his life. To this union two children were born: Steven and Maurice.  He had a deep sense of family.  During the early years, he and his family visited their extended family every week.  Booker, Waurene, and the kids were always present for weddings, funerals, and family holiday gatherings wherever and whenever the family called.

In 1963 he was promoted to Number one Mechanic (Lead Mechanic) by People’s Gas, and iIn 1972 he received his General Education Diploma from Chicago Public Schools.  Booker was then promoted to Foreman for one of People’s Gas Emergency Street Gang Crews.  Booker’s team repaired natural gas leaks and initiated the installation of new gas pipe infrastructure for the Southside Chicago area. Booker retired from People’s Gas in 1987. In 1989 Booker began employment with the Chicago Housing Authority as a Maintenance Mechanic for the Chicago Housing Project Developments.   He then retired from the Chicago Housing Authority in 2001.

Booker loved sports and sporting events. His favorite team was the Chicago White Sox.  He followed them from Manager Paul Richards to Manager Tony La Russa.  He often took the family to the Chicago White Sox home games to watch them play.  Booker coached and managed the neighborhood little league teams for five years.

In 1983 Booker was baptized again and joined the Stony Island Church of Christ and was an active member in the church.  He led rehabilitation projects for the church building repairs and scheduled maintenance. He maintained his membership at the church until 2015.  Booker and Waurene moved their membership to the Merrillville, Indiana Church of Christ in 2015.

He is preceded in death by his parents:  Charlie and Betty Lewis; and siblings: Elbe, Amanda, Lorene, Jesse, Joseph, George, Roger.

Booker is survived by his beloved wife Waurene; loving sons: Steven (Angela) of Merrillville, Indiana and Maurice (Tracey) of Covington, Georgia; his sister, Dorothy Rose of Bolivar Tennessee; sister-in law, Floy Jean Brinkley of Country Club Hills, Illinois; brother-in-law Ransom (Virgnia) Reaves of Memphis, Tennessee; cherished grandchildren:  Maurice (Ebony), Dominque, Shantehra, Angel, and Charles; treasured great grandchildren: Jasmyne, Justice, Janele, Jermiah, Keoni, and Kyndal; and dear Godchildren: Willie Ezell and Carol Ezell of Crown Point, Indiana.

Friends and family are invited to visit on Friday, April 8, 2022 from 6:00 – 8:00 PM at Calumet Park Funeral Chapel (7535 Taft Street, Merrillville, Indiana).

Funeral services and military flag ceremony will be held on Saturday, April 9, 2022 at 1:00 PM, also at the chapel .  Private burial to take place at Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in Elwood, Illinois.

Dean Johnson

Dean Paul Johnson

March 4th, 1942 – February 25th, 2022

Dean Johnson, an owner & founder of Dean’s Auto Repair, Inc. & long time resident of Merrillville, IN, passed away unexpectedly on February 25th, 2022 at the age of 79 while he was in Florida. Dean is survived by his loving wife of 58 1/2 years, Beverly Johnson (nee Brechner); his children: Charles (Vicky) Johnson, Carey Johnson-Young, and Cathy (Steven) Bell; grandchildren: Dylan & Mytchel Galoozis, Taylor & Sydney Young, Aiden Johnson, Brandon (Chelsey) Bell, Aaron (Stancie) Bell, Cameron Bell, Meaghan Bledsoe, and Kyle Stone; great-grandchildren: Jackson Bell, Jordan & Chelsea Bledsoe; and many nieces, nephews, friends, and his beloved cat, Batman.

David Cimesa

David “Autsi” Cimesa, of Hammond, Indiana passed away on February 23, 2022. David was born in Gary, Indiana May 5, 1941 to Nicholas and Olga Cimesa. Along with his 4 siblings (Diane, Danny, George and Joe) he spent his childhood helping his mother in her corner grocery store, Olga’s Food Mart. He graduated from Froebel High School, and in 1961 he enlisted in the US Air Force.
He was a talented and passionate musician, and a notable drummer who even had a stint in the Doc Severinsen band on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. He and his band, The Al White Duo, toured the US and Europe in the 1970’s entertaining clubs with smooth jazz and funk music.
He was a welder of the Pipe Fitters Association Local Union 597. He started his company, Industrial Trades In-House Training, and was a welding instructor for a Federal Government training program. His company provided maintenance craftsmen industrial training for HUD, Army Corps of Engineers, and Fermi Labs.
David is preceded in death by his mother and father, and brother, Daniel. He is survived by his children: Dominic Cimesa and April (Gary) Lickovitch; and grandchildren: Jake, Caden and Colton; brothers George Cimesa and Joseph (Cynthia) Cimesa; and sister, Diane (Doug) Tweeten.
He will be missed dearly by all who loved him.
Funeral services will be Wednesday, March 2, 2022 at 10:00 AM at St. Sava Orthodox Church (9191 Mississippi St, Merrillville, IN 46410). V. Rev. Marko Matic officiating. Interment Calumet Park Cemetery.
Visitation will be Tuesday, March 1, from 3:00 – 7:00 at Calumet Park Funeral Chapel (7535 Taft Street, Merrillville, IN, 46410). For information, call 219-736-5840.

Mildred Zakula

Mildred “Mitizie” Zakula age 70 of Hobart passed away with her family by her side, February 21st, 2022. Mitzie was a lifelong member of St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church. She graduated from Lew Wallace High School in 1969, was retired from Methodist Hospital with many years of service as the Food Service Manager.

Mitize was preceded in death by her parents Bozidar and Marija Ivankovich, brother Peter Ivankovich and niece Nichole Ivankovich.

She is survived by her beloved son Zivan (Kris) Zakula, her partner Zarko Zakula, two cherished granddaughters Zora and Sunny; brother Danny Ivankovich, nephews; Danny Jr, David (Milka), Bozidar “Robert” (Brooke), Timothy, Jeffrey and Joyce Ivankovich, great niece and nephews; Lauren, Ryan, Danika, AJ, and Viktor Ivankovich.

Mitizie will always be remembered for her love of family, especially her two granddaughters, whom she loved to spoil. She adored her family and always made sure they had everything they needed. She was very close with her great niece and nephew, Lauren and Ryan, whom Mitzie had a lot of love and pride for.

Visitation will be Monday, Feb 28, 2022 at 10am, St Sava Serbian Orthodox Church, 9191 Mississippi St, Merrillville, IN with funeral service beginning at 11am, V Rev Marko Matic officiating. Interment Calumet Park Cemetery. She will be missed and fondly remembered. May her memory be eternal.

For further information please call Mileva or David at Calumet Park Funeral Chapel 219-736-5840.

Roberto Amezcua

Roberto Amezcua passed away after 87 incredible years of life. Forty-eight of his years were spent with his beloved wife, Mina Amezcua. As God would have it, their nearly inseparable lives together came to an end for Roberto with Mina by his side, helping him with his final meal.