Walter William Zelasko, educator, football coach, adoring uncle, and loving husband, died at his home from complications of pancreatic cancer.
Beloved husband of Marie. Proud uncle of Scott (Paula), Laura (Jason), Erin, Lisa, Tim (Mary), and Stacy. Grand Uncle of Taron, Riann, Dylan, Leah, Mila, Jacob, Anna, and Ben. Dear brother-in-law of Thomas (Sharon) Svitkovich and JoAnn (the late Phillip) Christensen. Walt was preceded in death by his son, Walter Michael, parents, Walter and Myrtle, and his sister, Kathleen.
Walt, a highly respected and honored History and Psychology teacher, football coach, and yearbook advisor, began his teaching career at Allen Park High School immediately after graduating from the University of Michigan. After 34 years in the classroom, Mr. Z, best known for his popular and enriching classes, retired to begin a second career as an Executive Director for the Michigan Education Association. For the next ten years, Walt’s teacher support and bargaining experience resulted in many excellent teachers’ contracts for local school districts.
His achievements were numerous and his interests varied. He regularly frequented favorite bookstores in Ann Arbor and introduced his nieces, nephews, grandnieces, and grandnephew to them and gifted each at least three books on every visit, especially designed to encourage summer reading. His own favorite pastime was reading the New York Times from beginning to end every Sunday morning.
Fifty three years flew by during which Walt and Marie journeyed to England, France, Italy, and repeated trips to New York City, Chicago, San Francisco, Charleston, and Savannah, all of which inspired a lifelong passion for the arts, antiques, and theater, especially at the Shakespearean Festival in Stratford, Ontario and the Shaw Festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake.
Over the years, Walt’s responsibilities and commitments were great and his allegiances strong yet there was always time to entertain his gardening hobby, time to spoil each of nine Kerry Blue Terriers, time to enjoy collegiate football (GO BLUE), and time to savor classic films and music from the 1940’s.
Walt truly loved his life and he will be remembered as an interesting and interested pesonality whose talents, humor, and grace provided pathways for others to be successful, to grow, and to be happy.
A funeral Mass will be held at St. Patrick Catholic Church (135 Superior Blvd) in Wyandotte on Tuesday, October 3rd, 10:30am. Gathering at the church begins at 10am. Interment to follow at Woodmere Cemetery, Detroit.
An additional Celebration of Walt’s life will be held on Saturday, October 14, 11:30am-2:30pm at Portofino’s Restaurant (3455 Biddle Ave) in Wyandotte.
Donations in Walt’s honor will support the Forbes Institute for Cancer Discovery Fund at the University of Michigan, Michigan Medicine. Checks should be payable to “University of Michigan” and sent to 777 E. Eisenhower Pkwy. Suite 650, Ann Arbor, MI 48108. You may also call 734-764-6777. You may also give using the following link: https://leadersandbest.umich.edu/find/#!/give/basket/fund/329294/tributee/Walter%20W.%20Zelasko/type/memory