WINDHAM, Pa. - James "Jim" Webster Zajac, 64, of Windham, Pa., went home to be with the Lord on Saturday, July 19, 2014, at his home after many years of battling kidney disease related to an injury suffered during the war in Vietnam.
Jim was born May 31, 1950, in Warren, to Paul and Dolores Huffman Zajac.
He graduated from Lakeview High School in 1968. While he was in high school, he enjoyed running track. He especially excelled in the mile run, having the best time in the area. In addition, he also participated in football and was the school's first kicker.
After graduation, Jim enlisted in the Army and headed to Fort Knox, Ky., for basic training. Jim served one year in Vietnam as a combat engineer. He loved the military and was hoping to make it a career when he was injured, disabling him for life.
Jim didn't let his injury keep him down for long. He became very active in wheelchair basketball and track. In 1985, he was presented the Jack Gerhardt Athlete of the Year Award, which was the most prestigious award in the country for a wheelchair athlete.
On May 4, 1985, he married the former Brenda Kay Moore in Rome, Pa. As a special honeymoon, they spent six months traveling throughout Alaska, living in a van specially modified by Jim. Upon returning from their honeymoon they resided in Tampa, Fla.
To fulfill a dream, they relocated to Kenai, Alaska, in 1990 to become a resident of Alaska in order to hunt brown bear. He accomplished his dream of a trophy Kodiak brown bear, which stands in his living room today.
After moving back to Pennsylvania in 1994, Jim received the greatest blessing of his life, the birth of his son, James. He enjoyed being a father more than anything.
He also enjoyed fishing, hunting, woodworking and watching his son grow up and participate in his many sporting activities, especially baseball.
Jim is survived by his wife of 29 years, Brenda, and his son, James Zajac, of Windham, Pa.; his mother, Dolores Murphy of Cortland; his father, Paul Zajac of Wickliffe; his brother, David (Konny) Zajac of Timecula, Calif.; his sister Cherrie (Brian) Moran of Austintown; his brother Daniel Murphy of Cortland; and stepsister, Joan (Don) Moldovan of Westerville; and one niece, five nephews, four great-nieces and three great-nephews. Jim is also survived by Brenda's extended family.
He was preceded in death by his grandparents, Richard and Golda Mae Huffman; grandparents, Joseph and Nellie Zajac; stepfather, David Murphy; and his Uncle Johnny Zajac and Uncle Richard J. Huffman. He was also predeceased by a special Great-Uncle Edgar Huffman.
Family and friends are invited to attend a period of visitation from 4 to 6 p.m. Thursday at the Sutfin Funeral Chapel, 273 S. Main St., Nichols. Funeral services and a celebration of Jim's life will follow at 6 p.m.
Interment will be held at the convenience of the family at the Arlington National Cemetery.
Memories, condolences and pictures may be shared by visiting our website at www.sutfinfuneralchapel.com.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Warren Center Baptist Church, where Jim shared his belief in his Savior with so many of his friends, Warren Center Baptist Church, 883 Coburn Hill Road, Warren Center, Pa. 18851, or Guthrie Hospice, 421 Tomahawk Road, Towanda, Pa. 18848, in loving memory of James "Jim" Webster Zajac.