John J. Vela, Sr., 81, was born September 8, 1937. He was the father of six children, John J. (Juanita) Vela, Jr., Martin Vela, Gilbert Vela, Marie (Luis) Ruiz, Robert (Laura) Vela and Norma (Steven) Villicana. John was a resident of East Chicago, Indiana for the majority of his life. He retired from CSX Railroad after 52 years of service. John was a member of St. Stanislaus Church in East Chicago. He was very active in the church, he enjoyed serving as a Lector. John was always found in the company of “Guera” his faithful canine companion. He was preceded in death by his first wife of 36 years, Nilda Vela. John is survived by all of his children; eight grandchildren; 10 great grandchildren; one great great granddaughter; as well as Guera; a host of other relatives and friends. The family will receive friends on Thursday, February 21, 2019 from 9:00 to 11:00 a.m. with a Funeral Service to follow at 11:00 a.m. in the Main Chapel at the Ridgelawn Funeral Home, 4201 West Ridge Road, Gary, IN 46408 (219) 980-5555. At rest – Ridgelawn Cemetery, Gary, IN. John will be dearly missed by his loving family and dear friends.