August 5, 1955 – July 24, 2021
A compassionate heart and a contagious laugh were lost when Christopher John Szakaly, 65, passed away in his home on Saturday, July 24, 2021. Heaven gained such a bright soul.
Chris exuded positive energy which served him well as a Recreation Therapist and Massage Therapist. He always influenced people with his “Work hard Play hard” attitude and his value of honesty. He was brutally honest and you never had to guess what was on his mind. Chris contributed his services in many healthcare settings in Michiana and in San Diego. He “touched” many hearts and lives.
Chris graduated from St. Joseph High School in the class of 1974. He achieved an Associates degree from Holy Cross Junior College and a BA in Therapeutic Recreation from IU, Bloomington. He was a leader in the fields of Therapeutic Recreation, Massage Therapy and Lymphedema Treatment in his community. He was well recognized for providing compassionate care, positive energy, and healing hands.
During his semi retirement, he integrated his love of nature by raising alpacas.
In 1979 he met the “love of his life” and “best friend”, Ruth, at Camp Millhouse. He is survived by his wife and three sons, J.R., Joel (Amy), and Jensen (Ashley). He is also survived by three brothers, Dr. Martin (Patty), Dan (Siobhan), and Rev. Anthony; and three grandchildren, Addy, Connor, and Leni. Chris was most proud of his sons and their families.
Chris loved sports: ND football, Chicago Bears, and Chicago Cubs. He will be remembered by his signature whistle that could be heard around the world.
He was always heavy into weight lifting and working out. He enjoyed the teamwork and camaraderie of many men’s softball teams that he played on. Chris worked out both his body and mind. He was an avid reader, read many books about history and was a Civil War buff. He enjoyed hiking, the mountains, and travel. Chris was a “jack-of-all-trades.” He loved working with his hands, whether it was fixing cars, making repairs or playing sports. He seemed to have a knack for being good at everything. He will be remembered for his cookouts, gin martinis (especially with his late parents, Dr. John and Jeanne) and most of all his love of music. He loved to dance and play the air guitar.
Cremation will be performed by McGann Hay Funeral Homes. A “celebration of life” will be held on Sunday, August 22 from 2-5 pm at Pinhook Park South Bend, where Chris and Ruth shared their “first kiss.”
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to one of the following:
Camp Millhouse, “A special place for special people” at www.campmillhouse.org
Heart to Heart Hospice at www.htohhfoundation.org\donations
or IU Medical Center Alzheimer’s Disease Research Contribution Fund: Stark Neurosciences Research Institute Neurosciences Research Building 320 W. 15th Street, Suite 414 Indianapolis, IN 46202 317-278-5848.
To send private condolences, please visit