Zenon Orest Zazula passed away from a brain tumor on Dec. 5, 2019 in Carlsbad, Calif. Services are planned at St. Margaret Catholic Church in Cut Bank, Mont., on July 11, 2020, at 11 a.m.
He was born on July 22, 1948 in Karlsruhe, Germany to Wasyl and Annie Zazula. His parents were Ukrainians captured by the Germans in World War II and forced to work on farms on a displaced persons camp in Germany. His family was sponsored to relocate to Cut Bank, Mont., in 1950 by Annie’s sister Stephanie Olinyk and her husband and were very proud when they became U.S. citizens.
Zenon grew up in Cut Bank and was joined by sister Irene in 1952. He attended grade school and high school in Cut Bank where he was an enthusiastic but troubled sousaphone player.
Zenon attended Carroll College in Helena, then earned a degree in civil engineering from Montana State University. His first engineering job was with Morrison Maerle Engineering. He then moved to Missoula in 1976 and became a partner at Underwood and Associates.
His love of literature lead him to graduate studies in journalism at the University of Montana where he especially enjoyed creative writing and met his life-long friend Nancy Stevens and became an honorary family member of the Stevens, Nelson and Gorseth families.
In 1985 he moved to Redmond, Wash. to work for Horton Dennis and Associates and, later, at PACE Engineers providing water and sewer systems expertise to suburban Seattle communities. For many years, Zenon relished the benefits of city life–theater, symphonies, opera and Mariners baseball. He loved touring the beauty of the Pacific Northwest, especially as the sag wagon driver for his cycling friends. He was most happy just having a beer and visiting with friends.
After retiring in 2008, Zenon split his time between Seattle and Cut Bank where his parents still resided. He cared for his mother after his father died and later became friends with many residents of the nursing home where she spent her last year. In 2019 Zenon packed up his huge library and left Redmond to move back into his family home.
Zenon became a world traveler, visiting New Zealand, Australia, England, Ireland, France, Switzerland, Italy, Austria, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Poland and Russia. He especially enjoyed visits to Ukraine where he had relatives who showered him with hospitality.
Zenon spoke Ukrainian, Polish and Russian, and his friends said he dabbled in English-he could never pronounce “comfortable.” He hated carting suitcases and often opted for cruises so he would need to move his bags just once onto the ship!
He loved golf and proved a person can enjoy something without being skilled. Zenon loved to read and was working his way through all the National Book Award winners. He enjoyed dining out with family and friends and loved sushi, scotch and martinis. He was an enthusiastic but exasperating trivia partner, whispering the answers so loud the opposing team could hear.
Zenon loved Bob Dylan and hated the Yankees. His baseball card collection was epic. He braved many health problems along the way with good humor and was well loved by his many friends for his ready laughter and sweet nature (except in Seattle traffic). He kept his precious grade school friendships until the end.
Following his parents’ example, he was gregarious, kind-hearted and fun-loving. He was willing to be friends with all types of people and liked to say, “Everyone has their own story.” We are all glad to be part of his story.
We wish him bon voyage as he takes his last great cruise, baggage-free, on a grand adventure beyond this world, and look forward to shooting the breeze with him when we meet again.
He was preceded in death by his parents, his sister Irene. He is survived by his cousin, Christine (Olinyk) Georgedes, her husband John of Oceanside, Calif., their three daughters Jenesa, Grace and Alexis and their grandchildren Cash, Colby and Cade. Zenon was also survived by cousins Sandy Olinyk of Rancho Santa Margarita, California, Irene and Frank Kubas and Stella and Mary Ellen Baker of New York.
Additionally, he is survived by many relatives in Ukraine, special friends in the Cut Bank area (Larry and Betty Salois, Janet Larson, Pat Money, Jack Deming, Marvin Anderson, Dan Wilder, Tom Schwenke, Carol Woster and John Kubas); Missoula (Nancy Stevens, Jeff Stevens, Carol and Mark Goresth and family and Jim Nelson) and Seattle (Jack Bjork, Michael Bjork, Fred Williamson, Pam Taylor and Dave and Carol Hutley).
His family would like to thank Pacifica House in Carlsbad, Calif., for their kindness and care.