In Memory

Donald Zielinski - Class Of 1962

Donald E. Zielinski

Nov. 2, 1944 - August 5, 2020


Donald E. “Donnie Z” Zielinski passed away peacefully on August 5, 2020 at Hospice in Auburndale, Florida from complications of vascular dementia. He was preceded in death by his sister, Susan. He is survived by his brother, James (Juanita) Zielinski of Rockledge, FL, son, Kerry (Evelyn) Zielinski of Cleveland, OH, daughter, Leslie (Ed) Walsh of Indianapolis; nieces, Kim Walko and Tammy Gale, nephew, William Gale, and many wonderful cousins. He was an adoring grandfather to three grandsons, Leo, Oliver, and Samson Walsh.

Donald was born November 2, 1944 in South Bend, Indiana to Joseph C. Zielinski and Esther “Dorothy” (Urbanski) Zielinski. He was a 1962 graduate of Washington High School, South Bend, IN. He served the U.S. Army for two years in The First Armored Division (Old Ironsides) from 1966-68 where he distinguished himself as an expert marksman. He worked for the South Bend Post Office for 30 years from 1969-1999. He retired on his 55th birthday and three years later moved to Florida to escape the cold midwest winters.

In addition to his career at the Post Office as a letter carrier, then later as a maintenance technician, Donald often had side jobs and at one time also owned and maintained five rental housing units. An excellent handyman, he was good at fixing just about anything with professional-level skill, but even better at finding solutions to minor problems as long as he had epoxy, hot glue, or a soldering iron. Always a wordsmith, he was a master of daily crossword puzzles and puns. His silly and sometimes inappropriate sense of humor was sure to exude plenty of chuckles and an occasional eye roll. He was a WWII buff and a proud patriot.

In his free time Donald loved cheering for Notre Dame, the Chicago Cubs, and Chicago Bears. An avid outdoorsman, his favorite hobbies were gardening, shooting, and fishing. He spent countless weekends shooting skeet and trap at the Chain O Lakes Gun Club in South Bend. In retirement, he was able to fish several times a week and even hosted an annual bluegill and crappie fish fry for the widows of his community in Florida. He was a supporter of Downs Syndrome Indiana and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

He always maintained a strong affinity for South Bend and his roots there, but also made many great new friends in the 17 years he lived at Walden Shores in Lake Wales, FL. He will be missed by all.

Donald's cremains will be buried on Friday, 8/28 in St. Joseph Cemetery. Only immediate family will be in attendance.


08/23/2020 JFC