Category: Merrillville Obituaries

Wendy Schwandt

Wendy Schwandt, age 71, of Wanatah, formerly of Merrillville and East Chicago, passed away on Friday, September 11, 2020. She was preceded in death by her beloved husband Gerald E. Schwandt and parents Edward and Jeanie Mae Stan.

She is survived by her loving children- Keith Schwandt, Derrick (Evonne) Schwandt, Penny (Alex) Tracy, and Jeremy (Ginny) Schwandt; grandchildren- DJ Schwandt, Kayla Tracy, Lexi Tracy, Candace Schwandt, Kilion Schwandt, Caleb Schwandt, Korban Schwandt, Kolon Schwandt, Ainsley Schwandt, and Archer Schwandt; brothers- Toby (Sally) Stan and Randy (Debbie) Stan; her canine companion- Brie; several nieces and nephews and many special loved ones.

Wendy cherished her time rescuing animals for a non-for-profit organization. She also enjoyed bowling and most of all spending time with her grandchildren. Wendy was a loving mother and will be so deeply missed by all that knew her. Her memories will forever be etched in our hearts.

A celebration of her life will be held on Saturday, September 19, 2020 at 3:00 pm at Liberty Bible Church, 824 N. Calumet Ave. Chesterton IN. Funeral arrangements entrusted with Calumet park Funeral Chapel. Any questions please call 219-736-5840.

John J. Solar

John J. Solar, age 93, of Dyer, IN passed away peacefully on Friday, September 11, 2020. He was born in Manistique, MI on February 4th, 1927 to the late George and Mary Solar. Preceded in death by his loving wife Connie (Comerford) Solar, son John Thomas, Brother George, sisters Mary and Rose.

He is survived by his sons Ed, Jim, David and daughters Diana, Beth (Michael) Redden, Dorothy (Greg) Johnson.

He was blessed with 13 grandchildren, 12 great-grand children, and many nieces and nephews which he referred to all as “Grandpas Little Bugs”.

John served in the Army in the Communication Brigade in the Korean War on the Russian border. Employed by Standard Oil and Inland Steel. A proud member of the American Legion, Astronomy Club, Coin Club, and Experimental Aircraft Association. EAA, Oshkosh Airshow is where over 30 years he took up to 4 generations of family camping to watch the airshow and showed us his love of flying by getting his pilots license on his 75th Birthday. Attending church at Saint Maria Goretti, singing in the church choir, hiking, biking, electronics, fixing cars, helping anyone who needed anything, and of course Solar energy were just a few of his many interests in life.

John J. Solar always ended his goodbyes with, God Bless. He will be greatly missed by all that knew him.

Visitation will take place on Tuesday, September 15th, 2020 from 11:00am -1:00pm with a service at 1:00pm at CALUMET PARK FUNERAL CHAPEL 7535 Taft Street. Merrillville, IN 46410. There will also be a live stream on Facebook from Dot Johnson for those who cannot attend. Interment: Calumet Park Cemetery, Merrillville, IN

Alfonso Vega

Alfonso P. Vega, age 93, of Merrillville, passed away peacefully in his home surrounded by his loving family on Sunday, September 6, 2020. He is preceded in death by his wife Melva Vega and son Richard Vega. Alfonso was a fun-loving husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, great great-grandfather, sibling of 3 brothers and 2 sisters, and several nieces and nephews. He was a loved neighbor and friend.
Alfonso married his beloved wife Melva, and began their life-long legacy together. They shared 8 children: Raymond Vega (Margaret), Shirley Vega, Alfonso Vega, Jr. (Lala), Robert Vega (David), Richard Vega, Linda DeLeon-Grisham (Michael), Gregory Vega (Sharon), and Alice Vega-Martinez (Joe). He was an amazing grandfather to Lisa, Kristina, Michelle, Melissa, Bernadette, Dannette, Salina, Al III, Jessica, Tiffine, Timothy, Jose, Juan, Jesse, Jules, Miranda, Gregory Jr., Alfredo, numerous great-grandchildren, and 3 great-great grandchildren.
Born in Chicago, raised in Mexico, Alfonso came back to this country in pursuit of the American Dream. He came with nothing, but knew with hard work and a dream for a better life, he would succeed. He was not only an amazing provider, but strong and dedicated. He served in the United States Army during World War II. Later, he retired from Standard Forgings in East Chicago after 40 years. After retirement, he worked many different jobs as he always needed to keep busy. There he made many friends.
Friends and family can celebrate his life on Thursday, September 10th from 3-7pm at Calumet Park Funeral Home in Merrillville (Prayer service with Fr. Meid at 6:30 pm). There will be a mass at St. Andrew’s Church in Merrillville- Friday, September 11th at 10 am. Burial to follow.

Ilija Muvceski

Ilija Muvceski of Crown Point, Indiana passed away on Wednesday, September 2, 2020.

Ilija is survived by his wife of years, Lazorka Muvceska; his son: Zoran (Vesna) Muvceski and two daughters :
Jordanka (Vlado) Sotiroski and Vera (Simon) Pejoski. 7 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren:

Steven and Nikola Muvceski. Tanya (Feras) Musleh and their son Luai. Dimce (Jamie) Sotiroski and their two children Elliana and Samuel Sotiroski. Daniela Sotiroski and her three children, Antonio, Anabella, and Kristian. Jovce (Dijana) Pejoski and their two daughters, Emily and Melania. Diana (Zoran) Ilijoski and their two sons Viktor and Luka.

Merle E. Rukes

Merle Eugene Rukes

Merle E. Rukes, 91, of Crown Point, Indiana passed away on Tuesday, September 1, 2020. He died of natural causes.

He was preceded by his first wife Patricia Jean Rukes, his parents Raymond and Frances Rukes, and his brother Robert Glen (Libby) Rukes,

Merle is survived by his wife of 9 years, Dorothea Sypniewski Rukes; his three sons:
Gregory (Debbie) Rukes of Holt, MI, Bruce (Jan) Rukes of Franklin, IN, and Garry (Becky) Rukes of Portage, IN; ten grandchildren and seven great grandchildren:
Erin (Keith) Schulueter, Leah (Don) Holm their daughter Abby, Mari (Ben) Kesting and their children Bryce, Mason and Alivia, Todd (Rachel) Rukes their sons Roman, Beckam and Chandler, Jeff (Rose) Rukes, Katie Rukes, and Stephen, Hannah, Bethany and Joshua Rukes; as well as two step daughter; Venessa (Tom) Zapchenk and their children Eric Zapchenk, Michelle (John) Morris and T.J, and stepson; Bob (Robin) Long and their children Katie and Emily Long.
Merle attended Indiana State Teachers College where he had earned a Bachelor’s degree in Biology, General Science and Physical Education, Health and Safety and a Master’s degree in Science. He taught in the Gary School System for 35 years and in Anderson, SC for 6 years. He was a business owner of “Frost Top” in Hessville, IN and an ice cream/candy store in Merrillville and Crown Point, IN. After he retired in 1987 he volunteered at St. Anthony’s Medical Center in Crown Point, IN. for several years.
IU Basketball and the “CUBS” were two of his favorite past times.

While attending Glen Park Baptist Church in Gary, IN he accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Savior. He was currently a member of Bethel Baptist Church in Crown Point, IN.
He not only loved God and his family very much, but also loved his country as he was a proud US Army Veteran in the Korean War.
Visitation will be Thursday, September 3rd from 4:00 – 6:00 PM at Calumet Park Funeral Chapel, 7535 Taft Street, Merrillville. Funeral service 11:00 AM Friday, September 4th at Bethel Church 10202 Broadway, Crown Point with additional visitation 10:00 AM until time of service. Interment Calumet Park Cemetery. For info, call 219-736-5840 or visit

Charles A. Pena

Charles A. Peña was born on July 2, 1995 in Munster, Indiana to Valerie S. and Antonio M. Peña.  Charlie graduated from Merrillville High School in 2014.  He worked for Whole Foods in their distribution center.  Charlie, a talented artist and musician, enjoyed playing video games and disc golf with his friends. 

Charlie passed away August 29, 2020 at his home in Merrillville, Indiana.  He was preceded in death by grandparents Charles and Ione Watt, and Antonio and Evangeline Peña. He is also preceded in death by two beloved cousins Phillip Farler and Justin Felty, and Uncle Steven Peña. 

Charlie is survived by his parents and sister, Lauren, and a plethora of cousins, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and friends.

Visitation is from 3 pm to 7 pm Friday, September 4th, with a service at 6:00 pm, at the Calumet Park Funeral Chapel on Taft in Merrillville.

Bonnie Louise Dreggors

Bonnie L Dreggors (NEE Michalewicz) of SHELBY, IN, passed away peacefully on Monday, August 24, 2020 surrounded by her loving family at the age of 79. She was a devoted wife of 50 years to (late) Howard J Dreggors; loving mother to daughters: Jennifer (Dave Rassel) Dreggors and Julie (Scott) Mitrisin. She is also survived by cherished grandchildren: Luke and Jake Mitrisin and Molly and Casey Cox; loving sisters: Shalimar (Butch) Shavey, Cynthia Zatlokowicz, Laura (late Gavin) Turner and Deborah (Joseph) Serbentas; many nieces, nephews and dear friends. Preceded in death by her parents: Leona & Raymond Michalewicz. Bonnie was a 1959 graduate of Hammond High School and went on to work at St. Margaret’s Hospital and tended bar at her parent’s place Ray & Lees Bar in Calumet City. Bonnie was also a member of the Izaak Walton Leagues of America, Miller Ikes Chapter in Portage and the Diana Chapter in Shelby. Although she enjoyed fishing and traveling to many lakes she truly enjoyed spending time with her grandchildren, never missing a sporting event to cheer them on. Bonnie was a loving mother, daughter, wife, grandmother (busha) and friend to many and she will be deeply missed by all whose lives she touched. Friends & family are invited to meet with the family on Friday, August 28, 2020 from 2:00-6:00 PM at the Calumet Park funeral chapel. Mass will be held on Saturday, August 29, 2020 at 10:00 AM at St Mary Catholic Church 525 N Broad St Griffith, In. Interment to follow at Calumet Park Cemetery, Merrillville. For information, please call 219-736-5840 or visit