Jeff Katona, 54, passed away unexpectantly at 6:20pm Thursday, from complications of COPD.
Jeff was born on October 17, 1964 in South Bend to Donald and Suzanne (Heschl) Katona. He was employed by the city of South Bend as a code enforcement inspector and just celebrated his 20th anniversary with the city. Jeff was a member of the former DFV German Club and Izaak Walton League.
Jeff was a good-hearted person, who could always find humor in any circumstance. He could blurt out a one-liner that would make a crowd burst into laughter.
He loved collecting toys, antiques and frequenting garage sales and auctions. Throughout life his passions changed from sports, in his younger days, to garage sailing and treasure hunting. Jeff’s gift giving abilities were not always understood by his nieces and nephews. He would give a box full of unwrapped treasures from his garage sale finds to each one. The latest was a box for his nephew that had an old saxophone from his 7th grade days, and a Joe Namath football that would not hold air. Jeff was wonderful at giving heartfelt advice, that always started with, “You know what you need to do is…” and tell you what you needed to do. Jeff’s heart was in always the right place.
Surviving are his parents Don & Sue Katona, sister Suzette Katona-Schmok (Steve Schmok), nieces and nephews Adam, Tiffany, Anthony and Melissa Schmok. His pets Max, Jack and Abby will miss him. He had lost his brother Brian S. Katona, nephew Zachary S. Schmok and uncles Jim Katona and John Katona.
Jeff was very proud of his association with his schools; Hay-Jackson-Riley and Illinois State University. He was involved with sports throughout each school from football, basketball and track where is was usually the tallest on the team. He graduated in 1984 from Riley, lettered in track, basketball, and football. He was voted most valuable lineman, All-state lineman and was given a full-ride scholarship to Illinois State University where he was known as “Katman” and earned his B.S. in communications, in spite of his horrible spelling skills and poor penmanship, which he would be the first one to tell you. He was loved by all who know him. Whenever his name was said by anyone, it was usually followed by a funny story. He invented the term “Mott” and would use it daily. But his real claim to fame came when he was on an episode of the TV show “Hoarders” where he can be seen “needing to do some paperwork.” He will be missed by all.
Viewing will take place from 2-5 Sunday, July 21st in the Zahoran Funeral Home, 1826 Kemble Avenue. Funeral services will be held at 5:00pm. Private burial will take place. Memorial contributions may be made to the Riley Children’s Hospital or South Bend Animal Care & Control. To leave an online condolence, please visit our website at www.zahoran.com.
To send flowers to Jeffrey's family, please visit our floral section.
Riley Children's Hospital
705 Riley Hospital Drive, Indianapolis IN 46202
South Bend Animal Control