Thomas “TJ” Szawara, 1936-2018

Frank L. Keszei Funeral Home, Essling Chapel, LaPorte, is handling the arrangements for Thomas Joseph Szawara, 82, of LaPorte, who passed away peacefully on August 14, 2018, in his home.

Tom (known by most as “TJ”) was born April 15, 1936, in LaPorte to Thomas and Helen (Williams) Szawara, who preceded him in death. He is survived by Eugenia (Saliwonczyk) Szawara of LaPorte, whom he married on June 16, 1956. TJ is also survived by daughter, Connie Szawara of LaPorte; son, Thomas Szawara of LaPorte; and daughter, Debra Suzie (Brad) Malwin of Michigan City; brother, Ted (Joyce) Szawara of LaPorte; sister, Dr. Jill Szawara of Geneseo, New York; and granddaughters, Amy Malwin and Erin Malwin of Michigan City, whom he adored.

TJ graduated from LaPorte High School and was extremely athletic in his younger years, winning a baseball scholarship to college in Michigan. He also spent some college time in Kentucky, after which he played Fast Pitch Softball locally for many years. TJ remained an avid sports fan; the Chicago White Sox and Notre Dame were his beloved teams. He often took his family to White Sox spring training games in Florida and then later in Arizona. Traveling with his identical twin granddaughters delighted him, as did hosting large family pool parties where he taught his granddaughters how to swim. He never missed their softball games or swim meets, where he was said to be the loudest voice in the crowd, and he spent time with them whenever he could.

TJ retired from Midwest Steel, a division of National Steel, and devoted much of his time after retirement as director of RSVP/ Catholic Family Charities for LaPorte and Starke counties, managing social works projects, such as building wheelchair ramps for citizens who need them. Family and service to community were his passions and he especially doted on his granddaughters. He read constantly, and was never to be found at home without a book in his hands.

Visitation will be from 4-7 p.m. Sunday, August 19, at Frank L. Keszei Funeral Home, Essling Chapel, LaPorte. A Parish Rosary will be recited at 4 p.m. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Monday, August 20, at St. Joseph Catholic Church, LaPorte. Family and friends may gather at 9 a.m. in the funeral home on Monday. Reverend Ian Williams will officiate.  Burial will follow in St. Joseph Catholic Cemetery, LaPorte.

Memorial contributions may be made in his name to Catholic Charities, Diocese of Gary (

Messages of condolence may be posted below on WNLP as well as at

One Response to “Thomas “TJ” Szawara, 1936-2018”

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    Aug 17. 2018

    Szawara Family, my heartfelt sympathy in the lose of Tom! May you find comfort in all the wonderful memories you have with him. Peace be with you! Mrs. J Compton

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