Jerome H. Zelenka
March 31, 2017, saw the passing of Jerome H. Zelenka Sr. at the age of 91. He is survived by his son, Jerome Jr., his wife, Rebecca, their two children, Jessica Rose Faga, her husband Eric and two great-grandchildren, Lance and Kyrsten, and Christina Marie Albright and husband Jared, and their two children Jaiden and Ellyse; and his daughter, Mary Zelenka and her husband, Jim Bitzan, daughter, Susan Rommel and her husband, Duane, their daughter, Pamela, and husband Tony Pieterangelo, and two great-grandchildren Alyssa and Tony.
Jerome was 3 in 1928 when his grandfather and father purchased a two-room cottage on Big Cedar Lake where he grew up, spending summers there until just a few years ago when the "cottage" was passed along to the sixth generation of the family who live there now. He enjoyed hunting, fishing and telling stories about working for Jake Gonring, hearing the big bands in the octagon dance hall, and hiding slot machines from the Chicago Mob when they came to town to steal them.
In 1944, Jerome enlisted in the Air Force and served in India setting up radio communications for planes flying men and materials "over the hump" into China, After the war he went to Stout State University, graduated and was married to Rosemary Zelenka, who passed away three years ago. As a teacher for Milwaukee Public Schools, he taught woodworking and electronics, and was a football coach, athletic director and gymnastic instructor. He loved to build and fix things and, as a teacher and volunteer for numerous organizations, had an influence on hundreds of lives. Jerome had a great life; he lived to the age of 91, surrounded by loving family and friends. He indeed lived the American Dream and made it possible for all who knew him to share in that dream.
For all of those who had the privilege to know him, to work with him, to be one of his children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren or friend, we are all thankful for the time we had with one of those who can be truly called one of the Greatest Generation. Like so many of his generation, he will be missed, but certainly never forgotten; his and their impact on the world, the country, the community, and the organizations he served will always be remembered, honored and cherished by all those who knew him. Today, we grieve the loss of Jerome, but tomorrow like him we should get to work, fixing something, volunteer somewhere, help someone, make a difference. That is what he would do, that is what he would want us to do.
Funeral service will be held from noon-2 p.m. Thursday, April 6, at Wisconsin Memorial Park, 13235 W. Capitol Drive, Brookfield.