WARREN - Rudolph "Rudy" Zakrajsek Sr., 95, of Warren, passed away at 11:50 p.m. Wednesday, March 19, 2014, at Community Skilled Nursing Center in Warren, with his family by his side, after a period of declining health.
Rudy was born on April 2, 1918, the son of the late John and Mary Kushar Zakrajsek, on the southside of Warren, known as the "Bottom." He was a graduate of Warren G. Harding High School.
Rudy and his two brothers, John and Joe, joined the Civilian Conservation Corps, where he assisted in building roads and bridges. Rudy enlisted into the U.S. Navy Armed Guard on April 15, 1942.
He served his country proudly during World War II aboard the USAT Evangeline as a boatswain's mate second class. He served abroad in the Asiatic-Pacific Theatre and was awarded the Good Conduct Medal, European Theater Star, Victory Medal and the American Area Asiatic-Pacific Commendation Ribbon, and was honorably discharged on Nov. 2, 1945.
In 1948, he and his brother Louis "Butch" Zakrajsek started the Veterans Coal Co. A few years later, they went into the excavating business and successfully ran Veteran Excavating for 52 years. Rudy was a skilled backhoe operator and dug hundreds of basements and installed sewers and water lines. He retired in 2000 at the age of 80.
Rudy was a charter member of St. William Catholic Church, where he served as head usher. He also belonged to the Naimes Club and Golden Agers of the church.
Rudy successfully coached the St. William's softball and basketball teams for many years, taking them too many state championships. He was also a member of the Knights of Columbus Council 7491 of St. Williams Church and the VFW Post 2662 in Warren.
He enjoyed raising and selling Christmas trees, sharing his wisdom on gardening and caring for his fruit orchard. Rudy enjoyed his weekly card club, where he made many good friends and memories. He especially enjoyed spending time with his family.
Rudy was married on Oct. 23, 1948, to the former Anne M. Hadick, and they were married for 53 years until her passing on Sept. 3, 2002.
They shared the love of five children, Kathleen (Bernie) Novotny of Howland, Mary (Bob) Costello of Howland, Rudolph "Rudy" (Joyce) Zakrajsek Jr. of Howland, Debbie (Terry) Coyle of Boardman and Cyndi (Harry) Hawkes of Hunting Valley; 11 grandchildren, Jeff and Beth Novotny, Carrie (Ryan) Schaefer, Chrissie (Rob) Eshenbaugh, Kevin Costello, Daniel, Matthew, Michael and David Zakrajsek, and Lauren and Harry Hawkes; three great-grandchildren, Mason Eshenbaugh and Morgan and Miller Schaefer; and a soon-to-be-great-grandson Eshenbaugh.
He is also survived by a brother, Adolph "Joe" Zakrajsek; a sister, Mary (Frank) Holko; and many nieces and nephews.
Besides his parents and wife, Anne, Rudy was preceded in death by two brothers, John and Louis "Butch" Zakrajsek; and a sister, Jennie Zakrajsek.
Calling hours will take place from 4 to 7 p.m. Sunday at the Sinchak & Sons Funeral Home.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered with the Rev. Michael D. Balash officiating at 1:30 p.m. Monday at St. William Catholic Church, 5431 Mahoning Ave. N.W., Warren, OH 44483, where calling hours also will be from 12:30 to 1:20 p.m. Monday.
Burial will follow with full military honors in All Souls Cemetery in Cortland.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that memorial contributions take the form of donations in Rudy's name to the VFW Post 2662, c/o Quarter Master Dave Barson, 8882 Sherwood Drive N.E., Warren, OH 44484.
Family and friends may visit www.sinchakandsons.com to view this tribute and share condolences to the Zakrajsek family.
Caring and professional arrangements for the Zakrajsek family are being handled by the Sinchak & Sons Funeral Home, 330-392-5691.