ROBERT JAMES ZELEZNIKARRobert James Zeleznikar, 86, died peacefully surrounded by his family at St. Mary’s hospital in Duluth, on Nov. 24, 2013.
Robert James Zeleznikar, 86, died peacefully surrounded by his family at St. Mary’s hospital in Duluth, on Nov. 24, 2013.
Bob was born Oct. 16, 1927 in Duluth. He was the tenth of 11 children of immigrant parents Josef and Johanna from Yugoslavia.
He attended Duluth Central High School class of 1945 where he was a football and track star. Upon graduation he entered the Army. He was a World War II Veteran serving in the South Pacific. Bob attended Duluth Junior College and played on the 1948 Junior College Rose Bowl football team. He then attended the University of Minnesota and the University of Connecticut, graduating with degrees in Psychology, Social Work, and Economics. Bob began working for the St. Louis County Social Services Department in 1952. It was this year he married Lillian Mae (Berglund), and together they raised six children in their Duluth home. For the next 31 years, he held many positions in the Social Services Department, becoming the Director in 1983. For him, it was always more than a job; it was a commitment to society. Bob had a soft heart and is credited with the way county government helps women, children, senior citizens, the chemically dependent, and those down on their luck. He believed that despite their appearance or where they are from, all people should be treated with respect. During his tenure he was responsible for developing many innovative programs to aid the residents of St. Louis County.
Bob retired in 1992 and loved to spend time at his cabin on the river with family and friends. He was an avid outdoorsman who enjoyed sharing his love of the woods with his children and grandchildren. Among his many passions he enjoyed refereeing high school and college football games, trapshooting, and keeping the birds well fed.
He was preceded in death by his parents; his sisters, Mary, Angela, Molly, Jenny, Francis; and brothers, Frank, Walter, Joe, and John.
He is survived by loving wife Lillian of 61 years; children, Kathy (Charles Monasmith) Zeleznikar, Robert Jr., Carol (Bruce) Cortese, Janis (Dave) Lund, Dan (Natalie) Zeleznikar, Lisa Zeleznikar; his brother Jack; 14 grandchildren; 15 great-grandchildren; numerous nieces, nephews, family and friends.
VISITATION: 3 to 5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 29, 2013, in St. Lawrence Church; 2410 Morris Thomas Road Duluth; with a continuing visitation on Saturday, Nov. 30, from 10 a.m. until the 11 a.m. Mass of Christian Burial in St. Lawrence Church.
Memorials preferred to the Salvation Army of Duluth or Damiano Center. Arrangements by Dougherty Funeral Home 218-727-3555. www.doughertyfuneralduluth.com