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On Tuesday August 20, 2019 Jim passed away at the VNA Hospice Center in Valparaiso, IN at the age of 100 years old.
Jim was born on May 25, 1919 in Terre Haute, Indiana to parents of Romanian descent and relocated to Northwest Indiana at a young age.
He was a World War II veteran serving as a Sergeant of a half track vehicle in the Army. His unit was ambushed by the Germans while serving in France and Jim sustained injuries that earned him a Bronze Star and Purple Heart. Before entering the Army he worked at Keen Foundry in Griffith, IN. Later after serving his military time he owned and operated a school bus for the Lake Ridge School System for 31 years. During the summer he built several houses for families and built some that he sold.
Jim has been a life long member of the Descent of the Holy Ghost Romanian Orthodox Church. He was a member of the parish council holding the office of auditor. He also served on the building and maintenance and catering committees. He is a life time member of the American Legion Post 66 Griffith, IN.
The flag draping his casket was flown over the USS Arizona on December 7, 2011 and presented to Jim at his 100th birthday celebration by his nephew Larry Veray along with a certificate honoring his service and dedication to our country while serving in the United States Army.
Jim is survived by his wife of 45 years Judy (Duszczynski). He is survived by two sons Steven Dragon of Winter Garden, FL and James A. (Tonia) Dragon of Hebron, two daughters Lynette McDermott of Dyer and Gina (Jerry) Brown of Highland. 19 grandchildren Madelynn and Julianna Dragon, Aaron (Christina) McDermott, Nicole (Scott) Gignac, Brett (Kelly) McDermott, Arianna Brown, Brandon (Jessica) Dragon, Amber (John) Burt, and Mayor Thomas (Honorable Judge Marissa) McDermott. Christina (Jeff) Smith, Amanda (Kenny) Kidd. 18 great grandchildren Jordan, Connor, Liam, Cooper, Hailey, Addison, Ava, Levi, Payton, Ashley, Miles, Lindsey, Chase, Tommy, Patrick, Noah, Jacob, and Logan. Sister-in-law Katherine Duszczynski and numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins.
He was preceded in death by his parents Steve and Vera Dragon, brothers Steven Dragon, John (Mona) Dragon, sisters Mary (Casgar) Harlow, Valerie (Cruz) Velasco, grandson Steven Dragon, nephews Gordon (Woody) Tharp, Greg Paul, Edwin Denney, Donald Harlow, and Jerry Wanek.
Friends may visit with the family on Wednesday August 28, 2019 from 1:00 pm to 8:00 pm at Hillside Funeral Home & Cremation Center 8941 Kleinman Rd (one block south of Ridge Rd) Highland, IN, 46322. Memorial Service with Post 66 American Legion at 6:00 pm and Prayer service at 7:00 pm.
Funeral Service will be Thursday, August 29, 2019 at 10:00 am at the Descent of the Holy Ghost Romanian Orthodox Church, 750 W. 61st Avenue, Merrillville, IN, 46410 with Fr. Alin Munteanu, Parish Priest, Fr. Ioan Ionita, New St. George, and Fr. Jacob VanSickle, Protection of the Virgin Mary officiating. Burial at Calumet Park Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Descent of the Holy Ghost Romanian Orthodox Church.
May his memory be eternal.
For additional information, please contact Hillside Funeral Home & Cremation Center Konnie Kuiper-Kevin Nordyke by calling us at 219-838-0800 or visiting us at www.hillsidefhcares.com