Welcome to the memorial page for

Ronald Zahara

December 3, 1936 ~ December 18, 2017 (age 81)

Ronald Zahara, 81,formerly of Berwyn and Downers Grove, passed away peacefully in his sleep December 18th from complications of pneumonia.

He is the oldest son, born in 1936 in Chicago to parents Stanley and Gertrude, who preceded him, along with his younger brother Tom in death.

He attended Whittier Elementary on his way to graduating from Harrison Technical High School in 1955. He was a standout three-sport athlete, lettering in Baseball, Basketball and Bowling. The latter he would continue to play and excel into his mid 50's with his high school comrades. He also enjoyed golf on a regular basis, notching his first and only hole-in-one on a Par-3, 140 yards at Fresh Meadow Golf Course in Hillside on August of 1981. Arthritis would end his two favorite hobbies later on. As a teenager and young adult, he worked as an usher at Comiskey Park, in sales at District Furniture and Zenith before working independently until his retirement in 2011.

He raised a family of  four children with former wife Carol(nee Rudolph)in Berwyn. 

Big Z to his friends and family, or Mr. Z to his sons friends and players, coached Little League Baseball in Berwyn from 1975-1985 securing a Bronco championship with Hanson Realtors in 1983 and back to back Pony League Championships with Cuculich Olds in 1984 and 1985.

He was an exceptional 25-year IHSA Basketball, Baseball and Softball umpire and a 12-year NCAA softball umpire until knee injuries forced him to retire in 2001.

He happily remarried in 2000 to the late Melanie(nee Sirpis) and became a doting, loving 'Papa' to his only granddaughter Kayla in 2004.

Never one to miss a meal, he loved his food, which included Ribs on special occasions from the Glass Dome Hickory Pit on Halsted in Chicago, Char Polishes and Fries from Jimmy's on Grand and Pulaski, Benny's Pizza, Novi's Beef , McDonough's Red Top in Berwyn and Sams Club Hot Dogs and Fries topping it off with awful New York Cherry ice cream, which no one would ever touch, and his favorite drink of choice, two cases of Diet Lipton Green Tea 

He received not one moving violation in his entire life. If you were lucky enough to see him enjoying his favorite pastime, driving in the left lane under the speed limit, the symphony of horns and one finger salutes were a treat.

He loved his music, movies and comedy....The 'Chairman of the Board', Count Basie and his Orchestra and Smooth Jazz WNUA.

The Godfather, Casablanca and the Honeymooners.

The Dean Martin Roasts, Foster Brooks and Don Rickles. And last but not least, Rodney Dangerfield and George Carlin

He was also a lifelong ChicagoWhite Sox, Blackhawks and Bulls fan. But his passion was being a Chicago Bears season ticket holder for 41 years.

Big Z is survived by several nieces and nephews, another brother, sister Pat, his daughter Susan, sons Michael, Robert and youngest Gary. And last but not least, the 'luckiest granddaughter on earth', Kayla.

A memorial /luncheon will be held Saturday, February 3, 2018, 1 PM at 

Salerno's Pizzeria & Sports Bar
9301 W 63rd St, Hodgkins, IL 60525

In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to

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