Longtime Times correspondent Steve Zabroski died Sunday after battling cancer. He was 55.
Zabroski was a dedicated writer covering East Chicago, Hammond, Whiting and the region's business community on and off for 25 years for The Times.
Zabroski, of Hammond, was a lifelong region resident and really enjoyed covering the area where he lived, said his wife, Melinda Zabroski.
“He just had ink in his blood,” she said.
Zabroski was the former sports editor of the Sun Journal in Lansing and served as the editor-in-chief of the Calumet Day in Whiting before coming to The Times.
Zabroski was diagnosed with cancer in December, but continued to cover his beats for the paper.
“He was just a very kind, patient person, definitely the smartest person I know,” Melinda Zabroski said. "He always knew how to make me laugh."
Bill Bero, who was Zabroski's editor at the Sun Journal and Calumet Day, remembered his former colleague's determination to get to the bottom of a story.
“Steve had a razor-sharp wit, a steel-trap memory, a keen mind and a true nose for news that always had him looking beyond the surface to determine 'the real story,'” Bero said.
Hammond Police Chief Brian Miller said everyone who knew Zabroski liked him.
“He was a great writer and a great man and resident of our city,” Miller said. “He will be sadly missed by myself and the rest of my staff.”
Crista Zivanovic, Times assistant managing editor, first began working with Zabroski when she came to the newspaper 16 years ago as business editor.
“He seemed to know – or know of – everyone in the region and had a great grasp of many local issues, both political, and business and economic. He consistently made solid contributions to our business report, as he has to our news report over the years,” Zivanovic said.
“He had that reporter's knack for a good story, and his passion and great sense of humor made him so fun and interesting to work with. I don't think any of his Times, and former Times, family can quite believe he's gone. We'll miss him for a long time.”
Every Christmas, Zabroski and his friends would form a band called the Calumet Christmas Horns where they would go around the community and play holiday music. He also loved nature and was an avid reader and researcher, Melinda Zabroski said.
The couple was just shy of their 30th wedding anniversary and met when they both worked for the Sun Journal.
Zabroski donated his body to science in hope it would help other people, Melinda Zabroski said.