Casimer Ralph “Cas” Stackowiak, 95, of South Bend, Indiana passed away at 3:20 p.m. Saturday, September 21, 2019, in Dujarie House at Holy Cross Village. Casimer was born on December 5, 1923 in South Bend to Cas and Celia (Wegnerowski) Stachowiak, and lived locally nearly his entire life. He graduated from Washington High School, where his excellence as a baseball pitcher was first noticed, and he enlisted in the Navy in 1943, serving in the Pacific Theatre (Solomon Islands) during W.W. II. He met his wife, Lee, also a veteran, in Washington, D.C. in 1946. Casimer was a professional baseball player 1946-1947 in Tampico, Mexico; Topeka, Kansas; and Chanute, Kansas. In 1947 his promising career as a pitcher was shortened by an arm injury. He returned to Indiana and joined the South Bend Fire Department, where he served from 1951-1971. When he retired as a fireman he worked for The Sweeper Company from 1971-1992, and enjoyed visiting the homes of residents throughout the area. Cas was known for being gentle, handsome, and devoted to his wife and family, quick to share jokes and stories about his favorite sports teams. He made friends everywhere he went.
On May 13, 1946, in the St. Casimir Church Rectory, he married Leonia “Lee” Rodau, his wife of 71 years, who preceded him in death on January 31, 2018. Casimer is survived by his two children, Anita Fretz of Plymouth, Indiana and Robert (Jodie) Stackowiak of Elgin, Illinois; four grandchildren, Tracy Hartzler of Santa Fe, New Mexico, Amy Lee Hartzler of Washington, D.C., Nicholas (Pang) Stackowiak of Algonquin, Illinois and Michael (Allison) Stackowiak of East Dundee, Illinois; his great-grandson, Nolan Stackowiak, and several cousins.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11:00 a.m. Tuesday, September 24, 2019 in Our Lady of Holy Cross Chapel at Holy Cross Village. Entombment will follow in St. Joseph Cemetery, where members of the United States Navy will conduct Military Services. A visitation will be held from 10:00 a.m. until 11:00 a.m. Tuesday in Our Lady of Holy Cross Chapel. Casimer was a member of Sacred Heart Parish, the American Legion Pulaski Post #357, and the Firefighters Association. In 1945 he attended three World Series games in Chicago, compliments of the Detroit Tigers. Casimer was a Notre Dame, Chicago Cubs, and Chicago Bears fan. The family expresses its gratitude to the staff at Dujarie House who cared for him in his last years; Memorial Contributions may be directed to Holy Cross Village Foundation. Kaniewski Funeral Home is handling all arrangements.