Meeting John Glenn…

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John Glenn visited my Grandmother and Grandfather in 1975 at their house in Munster.   The reason for the visit was my uncle Stephen Kovacik wanted to introduce John Glenn to his parents.  Uncle Stephen was John Glenn’s campaign manager for the State of Ohio when he was running for Senator.  Stephen Kovacik SR, was one of the founders of Calumet Park.  (Carl Paunicka as a young boy meets astronaut John Glenn)

2014-10-10 08.02.54Current photo of Carl as one of the owners of Calumet Park Cemetery

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New Calumet Park Funeral Home in Hobart has ribbon cutting ceremony with the Chamber’s of Commerce of Hobart and Portage…

On December 15 the Chamber of Commerce for both Hobart and Portage joined together in a ribbon cutting ceremony at Calumet Park Funeral Chapel in Hobart.  the funeral home is located just south of Ridge Road on County Line Road between Hobart and Portage.  Considering the day was the coldest of the year to that point, a nice turn-out of local businesses and residents stopped by for the ceremony.

Location supervisor Roy McNeal and his assistant, Mike Poweska, had the newly renovated funeral home looking great.  The entire Board of Directors joined in the ceremony, with gifts handed out to all attendees.  Hobart Mayor, Brian Snedecor welcomed Calumet Park to the business community, and both Lisa Winstead from Hobart and Nancy Simpson from Portage shared some thoughts as the ribbon was cut making Calumet Park an official member of the community.

Stop by anytime for a private tour of the facility and meet the staff.  For more info, call 219-940-3791.

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Ribbon cutting ceremony at Hobart funeral home on December 15th from 4-5:30…you are invited

2015-03-17 06.16.412015-03-17 06.18.33You are invited to our Ribbon Cutting Ceremony with the Chamber’s of Commerce from Hobart, Portage and Lake Station.  The date will be Thursday, December 15, at 4:00-5:30 at Calumet Park Funeral Chapel located just south of Route 6 on County Line Road between Hobart and Portage.  Refreshments will be served.

This event is open to the public as well as local businesses.  It is a chance to have a tour of the building and meet your local funeral director and staff.  For directions or questions, call 219-940-3791.

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Calumet Park Funeral Chapel and Rendina Funeral Home Angel Tree Lighting Ceremonies well attended…

2015-10-09-08-07-29The Merrillville High School Choir greeted the attendees of Calumet Park Funeral Chapel’s annual Angel Tree Lighting Ceremony on Saturday afternoon, December 3.  Over 150 men, women and children enjoyed the choir singing Christmas carols as they found their way to their seats in the chapel.

 

 

Harpist Renee Wilson treated the audience with soft holiday music while waiting for the program to begin.

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A special thanks to Michelle Hanrahan and all those who helped make the evening a success.  Assisting as needed were Kim Jones, Carrie Evans, Teresa Dille, Matt Hahn, Misti Ferkull, Sandy Ferris, Marcia Ochoa, Rick Kalk, Richard Stake, Dianne Correll, Kathy Chepela and Tammy Vogel.  Paul Vogel offered some thoughts and stories to remind us all of the reason for the season, while his brother Brant sang a song inspired by his grandfather and days fishing.  Matt and Sara Courtney and Caroline Moore shared a heavenly song and all enjoyed fellowship after the door prizes were awarded over delicious punch and an assortment of sweets.  And, for the first time, pictures of loved ones were projected on the wall as names and dates were read as loved ones placed glass angels on the tree.

Rendina’s ceremony was on Thursday afternoon organized by Taylor Wise, with Greg Schafer and many of the people mentioned above all helping out. (click on pictures to enlarge)  2015-10-07-08-22-48 2015-10-07-08-25-43 2015-10-07-08-26-30 2015-10-07-08-27-32 2015-10-07-08-43-06 2015-10-07-08-43-46 2015-10-07-08-44-59 2015-10-07-08-48-20 2015-10-07-09-02-22 2015-10-07-09-13-52

 

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Everybody has a Christmas story…here is mine for this year…pleasant reading.

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In the still of a night…

By Daniel G. Moran, Calumet Park Cemetery G.M.

In the middle of November, my 90 pound Airedale woke me up at 4:00 a.m. one morning by shoving his huge head under my cheek and jerking upward.  When he wants to go out there is little that one can do but accommodate his needs.  That, or listen to his deep and loud barking until you give in and get up.  Truth be told, as I get older, I get up more often in the night anyway so you could call us the “middle of the night relief team”.

Mac is actually a very quiet, well-mannered dog.   I adopted him from a rescue center last year and he has since become part of our family.  After grooming and getting his curly hair cut, he looks like the pure bred dog that he was born to be.

Anyway, that morning when I came in and got all cozy in my bed for another couple of hours of sleep, I started thinking of Christmas decorating.  My wife had already put up the small tree and all sorts of snowman and snowwoman stuff in the living room.  The family room would be next and that is where the big tree goes.  It is a large room and one that is always so Christmassy looking when decorated.  As I lay there, my thoughts were turning to hanging stockings, and 28 year old red Santa snack cups and plates for the cookies and milk lovingly put out by the girls when they were ‘believers’, and sugar plums dancing in my head.

I realized that I was decorating the room in my half-dream state, so why not get up and actually decorate?  I did get up and I did decorate…very quietly.  Mac  laid  by the fireplace and up went the tree and colored lights.  We treasured the Christmas decorations made by our girls, Megan and Colleen, from their early art classes in grade school.  They went on the tree along with all the other shiny and bright ornaments bought or gifted to us over the years.

I listened to Johnny Mathis and Nat King Cole as they sang all the old, familiar Christmas songs… as only they could do.  I cannot hear Nat King Cole sing “chestnuts roasting on an open fire…” without feeling nostalgic about the days of old when life seemed less complicated than the world we live in today.  It was then that I un-wrapped the manger scene and looked around for just the right place to put  Jesus, Mary and Joseph for all to see.

In the quiet of the early morning, I held the manger and looked intently at the detailed ceramic baby Jesus, and could truly feel the reason for the season.  If that particular moment would have been part of a Hallmark Holiday Movie made for TV, the viewer would have been transported from the here and now back to a memory bubble of me as a young boy in 1956.  I was with my father and we were knocking on the door of a very needy family.  I know they had to be needy because we lived in a house with no running water or bathroom and only the heat from a pot belly stove to keep us warm, and very few presents under the tree and still, my dad said we had to take some food to a family that was really poor.

I clung to a basket of canned goods and dad held a turkey (it may have been a chicken or a crow for all I knew… as a little seven year old boy, what did I know from turkeys?) as he knocked on the door.  The porch had broken boards, and the screen was torn.  When the door creaked open, a mom stood there with a mess of wee one’s clinging to her skirt and tentatively asked us what we wanted.

The entire drive to their house was spent with my rehearsing what I was to say when the door opened, so when I blurted out “Merry Christmas.  We wanted to share our blessings with you.”, I think I scared her and her kids.   Somehow, I choked the words into the crisp air, and the lady looked down at me and up to my father and back to me.  I remember her tears, but even more, I remember my father’s tears.  Men don’t cry and yet, there was dad, wiping away nearly frozen droplets of water as he told her that “God was good to us this year, and we wanted to bring some good cheer to your family”.

Hallmark Productions would then fade back to the present as one tear slid down my cheek.  Oddly, Mac opened his eyes at that moment, started to get up, and we stared for a  few seconds at each other. He plopped back down, to the floor and was soon snoring.  I placed the manger on a shelf and thanked God for the memory.

Sixty years had passed since that little boy learned that wealth is not in having things but rather being taught to see beyond the trappings of the holidays.  Shopping and living a month in the hustle and bustle of modern day X-mas has no meaning when Christ is taken from the greetings of the season.  I learned that one can be rich in one’s soul when a soul is opened to Jesus, our Savior.  My dad knew that in his simple approach to life.  He was good, and kind, and tolerant and a man of love.  He took the command to love your neighbor to heart and quietly went about his life letting his actions speak for him.

There are so many that like to hear themselves quote from the bible.  Then, there are others who do their best to live the precepts that were taught to us by Jesus during the last three years of His life.  I was not created as the best looking person in the room with the most wonderful and likable personality.  But I was created in the image of God, and I continuously strive to be the best person that I can be.  There have been many failed days over the past 67 years for this writer, but my faith has always remained strong through thick and thin.

A gift to me for this year was being awakened by a dog so I could decorate a tree so I could put up a manger so I could be reminded of the fact that love is the reason for the season, and real wealth is in our hearts.  Share a smile, a meal, an angel tree gift for children so they can feel, even if but for a moment, that humans do not always have to be on the take.  Let them learn how to receive so they may one day find the joy in giving.

Merry Christmas to all.  Help me take the X out of X-mas!

 

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The Calumet Park and Rendina Angel Tree Lighting ceremonies are just around the corner….

Orn_Angel_LARGECall now to make sure you are included in the annual angel tree lighting ceremony at Calumet Park Funeral Chapel and Rendina Funeral Home.  Calumet Park’s will be held on December 3 from 3:00 – 5:00 p.m. and Rendina’s will be on December 1st from 3:00 – 5:00.  We recommend that you come early to make sure your angel will be ready for you.  Please call in now to ensure that you will have your complimentary angel.  Call Calumet Park at 219-736-5840 and Rendina at 219-980-1141 for details and driving directions.  See you there and Merry Christmas to all.

 

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Veterans Day Ceremony honoring all veterans was held at Calumet Park Cemetery….

2015-07-06-15-13-06Pat O”Donnell from WJOB was the keynote speaker at Calumet Park Cemetery’s annual Veterans Day Ceremony.  All the seats were filled as Paul Vogel II opened the event with a prayer and a sincere thank you to all veterans.  Pat reviewed some positions on veteran benefits and then spoke with honor and from the heart on the debt that is owed to all veterans, including their families.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Pat O'Donnell speaks to the veterans in attendance, and to their family and friends.

Pat O’Donnell speaks to the veterans in attendance, and to their family and friends.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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You are invited to Calumet Park Cemetery’s Veterans Day Cememony…

Please join with us in honoring our nations veterans on Friday, November 11 at 11:00 A.M. at Calumet Park Cemetery.  It will be held indoors so bring the family and show your support and appreciation.   Thank You.

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Pat O'Donnell speaks to the veterans in attendance, and to their family and friends.

Pat O’Donnell speaks to the veterans in attendance, and to their family and friends.

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Halloween of 1994 American Eagle Flight 4184 plane crash in Roselawn remembered

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Theresa Ann Severin, shown above, wrote a truly amazing account of the events before and after the doomed American Eagle flight back in 1994.  Terri lost her sister Patricia and her nephew, Patrick Henry on that day.  Stop in at Calumet Park Cemetery and pick up a copy of this story, powerful in and of itself and brought alive by the courage and tenacity of the author.  Each copy is personally signed by the author and can be yours for only $20.

In looking for the perfect poem or inspirational story to read this afternoon, I could not find one. They all felt too heavy with grief or regret.

I then realized the perfect thing I wanted to recite today was not about remorse, or loss, but about gratitude.

I am grateful for having had my only sibling, my best friend, Patty, for 36 years.

I am grateful to have had little Patrick in my life for 4 years.

I am grateful for the playfulness and small antics Patrick brought to my life.

I am grateful for the sisterhood and the big antics that Patty and I engaged in.

All of us have experienced blessings and miracles from the ongoing presence of our loved ones in our lives, giving us support and hope for the future. So, even when speaking of their departure from this earthly plane, I believe they continue to shape who we are today. Just like all of us here have assisted each other, in even small ways, on our journeys and transformations.

Reflecting on my relationship with my sister, and never wanting to have been selfish, all I can do is hope that I haven’t somehow held Patty back from fully embracing the life she is now meant to live. My strong emotional ties may in fact have been tethers holding Patty to the earthly plane. So, with that said, I fully release Patty and Patrick. I have attempted this throughout the years, but this time, with you as my witness, “I really mean it this time!”

I know our love will never be lost or diminished.

Finally, I am grateful to be here with all of you today to honor our loved ones, who are free and in the light and love of God.

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A good cause to be aware of…Emma’s Footprints

angelfeet2There is no footprint so small that it cannot leave an imprint on this world.

Emma’s Footprints was created to keep Emma’s memory alive by bringing awareness to the potential struggles that preemie babies and their families may face.  Emma’s Footprints provides care packages for NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) parents, bereavement care packages, help to families with funeral costs after the loss of an infant, and work towards bringing awareness to both premature birth and infant loss.

Although Calumet Park does not normally promote fundraising on our facebook page, we feel comfortable helping to give a voice to this noble cause.  If you would like to donate items for the NICU care packages, or make a monetary donation, contact Joseph or Amelia Kowalisyn at emmasfootprints@gmail.com, call 219-299-9246 or go to their facebook page at Facebook.com/EmmaKsFootprints

 

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Filed under Calumet Park Cemetery, Calumet Park Cemetery in Merrillville Indiana, Calumet Park Funeral Chapel in Merrillville Indiana, Calumet Park Funeral Chapel of Hobart and Portage, Calumet Park Funeral Home, feature stories, Rendina Funeral Home