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Benjamin J. Zalas
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Obituary for Benjamin J. Zalas

Benjamin J. Zalas, 96, a resident of Oshkosh for 46 years, passed away on April 23, 2018 at Parkview Health Center in the company of his children. Ben was born in South Bend, IN on November 27, 1921 to Joseph and Helen (Bolka) Zalas. He was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Helen, infant son: William Patrick; grandson: Jonathan James Zalas; great-granddaughter: Greta Soderquist; daughter-in-law: Jacquelyn Harvey (Eric Zalas); sister: Henrietta Sideritz; brothers: Arthur and Ervin “Gus” Zalas.
Ben and Helen Marie Sygler were united in marriage on August 23, 1947 in South Bend, IN. They enjoyed 65 years together, lovingly raising six children, forty-four grandchildren, and thirty-six great grandchildren.
In October of 1942 Ben was drafted into the Army and faced action in North Africa and Italy. He was wounded in Italy and awarded the Purple Heart. He returned to the states in October, 1945, receiving an honorable discharge for his military service to his country.
Ben began university studies at Ball State Teachers College from 1946-1950. He accepted teaching and coaching positions at Scott High School in Stone Lake, IN, St. Mary’s High School in Michigan City, IN, and River Forest High School in Hobart, IN. After earning his masters degree at Indiana University he also held assistant principal and principal positions. In 1970, Ben accepted a position at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh in the Division of Continuing Education. Ben thoroughly enjoyed his work at the university, retiring in 1990.
Sports were a passion in Ben’s life. He especially showed enthusiasm for playing golf, tennis and men’s softball. Ben was a fixture in the press box and ran the scoreboard for 41 consecutive years at UW-O Titan football games. He was a loyal and life-long Chicago and Notre Dame sports fan. In 2016 he rejoiced to finally see his team, the Chicago Cubs, win the World Series.
Ben loved to play cards and always had a time for a rousing game of euchre. He played the humstrum with his late friend, John Check, in a three-man band called “The Good Time Providers”. They entertained the elderly in local retirement homes around Oshkosh. Ben served at the American Legion Post 70 and was past DAV Chapter 17 Commander in Oshkosh. He participated faithfully at St. Mary’s Church in Omro, WI.
Ben is survived by his sister, Rita Derda (South Bend, IN) and his children: Kathy (David) Soderquist of Hobart, IN, Eric Zalas of Carmel, IN, Peggy (Dan Polomchak) Pavese of Portage, IN, Terry (Connie) Zalas of Fremont, WI, Cindy (Brian) Dearing of Mequon, WI, and Judy (Steve) Frey of Oshkosh, WI.
A funeral service for Ben will be held at 11:00 am on Saturday, May 5, 2018 at St. Mary Catholic Church, 730 Madison Ave, Omro, WI 54963. Visitation will be held on Saturday at the church from 9:00 am until 11:00 am. Burial with military honors will be held at Lake View Memorial Park, Oshkosh immediately following the service.
Dad, we love you for the example you have given in serving your country, for your devotion and dedication to your marriage vows, and for your service to others. You have enriched our lives. We are thankful that you trusted the finished work of Jesus Christ for your eternal life in Heaven. Thank you, God, for giving us a wonderful dad, grandfather, great-grandfather, and friend.
Ben’s family would like to extend a sincere “thank you” to the staff of Parkview Health Center for their kind and compassionate care for the last years of his life. Your kindness will never be forgotten.

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Previous Events





9:00 AM - 11:00 AM
St. Mary Catholic Church

730 Madison Ave
Omro, Wisconsin 54963





11:00 AM
St. Mary Catholic Church

730 Madison Ave
Omro, Wisconsin 54963

Cemetery Details


Lake View Memorial Park

2786 Algoma Blvd,
Oshkosh, WI 54901


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