James “Jim” Joseph Retseck, 69, of La Porte, passed away peacefully at 9:39 a.m., Thursday, July 9, 2020, in his home.
He was born March 21, 1951, in Michigan City, Indiana, to John Dean and Jeanne Gloria (Clarke) Retseck.
Jim was truly one of a kind. A basketball legend at Marquette High School and Auburn University, Jim was drafted into the NBA by the Golden State Warriors in 1973. After traveling the world as a professional basketball player, he began a 35-year career working in the region’s steel mills (US Steel, Gary Works, and Acme Steel, Chicago, IL.) JJ became a respected blast furnace expert and well-loved shift foreman manager known for his fairness and colorful language. During that time, he and his loyal friend, Mike Tokoly also ventured into business as owner-operators of Paints Plus paint supply store. Always humble and ever generous, Jim was eager to help wherever the need. He was known as a handy Mr. Fix it, skilled home renovator, amazing cook and baker, self-taught musician and sketch artist, lovingly “ornery” sibling, and the subject of “I can’t believe he did that” neighborhood tales and family antics. He will be remembered as a gentle giant and dearly missed by all who loved him as we crank up the Motown oldies, grab a Miller High Life, and celebrate him home!
On August 13, 1983, in East Chicago, Indiana, he married Kathleen (Kuzydym) Retseck, who survives.
Also surviving are his daughter, Hilary (Dave Joecks) Retseck of Denver, Colorado; six siblings, Mary Anne Retseck of South Bend, Barbara (Ted) Gawronski of Michigan City, Thomas (Mary Jo) Retseck of St. John, IN, Jane Siebert of Michigan City, Elizabeth (Brian) Lernihan of Naperville, IL and Catherine (Wayne) Buell of Michigan City; sister-in-law, Connie Kuzydym of Long Beach; brother-in-law, Richard Kuzydym of Olathe, Kansas; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Preceding in death were his parents; three siblings, Richard Retseck, Nancy Steele, and John D. Retseck Jr.; father and mother-in-law, Walter and Irene Kuzydym; sister-in-law, Nancy Kuzydym; and brother-in-law, Allan Kuzydym.
Cremation will take place. A celebration of his life will be held at a later date. Lakeview Funeral Home & Crematory, 247 W. Johnson Rd., La Porte, (219) 362-3100 is caring for the arrangements.
Please send condolences to the family at www.LakeviewFHC.com.
Memorial contributions may be directed to The V Foundation, for Cancer Research founded by Jimmy Valvano at www.v.org and/or to a charity or a non-profit organization of Donor’s Choice in memory of James Retseck.