August 13, 1934January 5, 2020

Gerald Leon Zancanelli, known as “Sonny” to his family, of Louisville, Colorado was called home on Sunday, January 5, 2020. Gerald was an amazing man who will be greatly missed by family and friends, along with the thousands of students he taught over the years. Gerald enjoyed cooking, golfing, traveling (Hawaii, Arizona, and Grand Lake being his favorite destinations), sporting events, and time with friends and family.

He was born on August 13, 1934 in Boulder, Colorado to Josephine “Mabel” Zancanelli (Asti) and Leon A. Zancanelli. He spent his youth on the family ranch (now the Coal Creek Golf Course) in Louisville, Colorado where he enjoyed tending to the animals. He graduated from Louisville High School in 1952, where he was a star athlete and class president. Gerald attended Colorado A&M University (CSU) studying Agriculture. He also played football and was a member of ROTC. Upon graduation, Gerald commissioned as a Navigator in the U.S. Air Force, earning the rank of Captain. He later went on to receive his master’s degree in Mathematics Education from the University of Colorado-Boulder.

From 1960 to his retirement in 1991, Gerald taught Mathematics and Business for Boulder Valley Schools (Centennial Junior High School, Platt Junior High School, and Fairview High School). Throughout his career he coached Football, Basketball, and Track, including being the Head Coach for the University of Colorado Women’s basketball program (1975-1978). He later went on to be the Boys’ Basketball Coach at Fairview High School.

He is survived by his nephew: Doug Zancanelli, nieces: Jill (Zancanelli) Brown and Joy (Zancanelli) Uhl, great nieces: Meghan (Zancanelli) Brown and Jayden Brown; and great nephews: Zachary Zancanelli, Andrew Brown, Dante Uhl, and Michael Thomas. Gerald is proceeded in death by his parents and brother, John Zancanelli.

Funeral services will be held at 11:00 am on Monday, January 13 at Sacred Heart of Mary Church, located at 6739 S Boulder Rd Boulder, Colorado, with reception to follow. A private burial service will be held.


No services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.



have a memory or condolence to add?

Todd Hopkins

January 12, 2020

He made us a huge spaghetti and meatball lunch for us at Platt. Loved him!

Sam Oliver

January 9, 2020

Coach Z! You will be missed.

Meghan Brown

January 8, 2020

Uncle Sonny played a huge and pivotal role in our family and upbringing. He was kind, selfless, and fun-loving. It is hard to imagine life without him, but I know without a doubt that he is in heaven and at peace. I love you always, Uncs; until we meet again <3!

Laura Menhennett (Smith)

January 8, 2020

Mr. Z was one of my favorite teachers at Platt! Math was one of my favorite subjects, story problems were my nemesis. His notebook for a test grade policy, saved me!!! Looking back, I really appreciate his desire for children to learn and succeed! RIP Mr. Zancanelli! Thoughts and prayers for the family🙏🏻

Marcella Berardi

January 8, 2020

My favorite Teacher at FHS!! Always greeted his students his big glorious smile with occasional head shake at me for not paying attention.. although I struggled through Algebra, Mr Z took the time to tutor and helped me achieve a B average in class. I will never forget you Mr Zancanelli!! ❤️❤️

Tim Gallagher

January 8, 2020

You were one of the best teachers and finest person I ever knew!! Always encouraged us to be the best we could be!
RIP Coach
Tim Gallagher

Dick Kaiser

January 7, 2020

I had Mr Z as a teacher at Centennial Jr High back in the early 60’s and he also was our football coach. He is the person that turned me on to math and I went on to minor in math in college. Great guy, was one of the best teachers I ever had... thanks Coach Z for all that you did for me

Krissi Smith

January 7, 2020

So sad to hear of Mr. Z’s passing. Fortunate for those who had Mr. Z as a teacher, friend, and or coach. He was always tremendously kind and caring. One of my most favorite teachers at Fairview and especially one of my favorite math teachers. Always made the class a fun place to be and helped us to strive to be the best we can be. The world has gone a little darker without Mr. Z’s light of caring n compassion. He will truly be missed by all but never forgotten.

Catherine Precourt

January 7, 2020

I am so sad to hear about Mr. Z’s passing. He was my math teacher at Platt Jr High many years ago. He was always kind, always making us laugh, and was a truly great teacher. There was no doubt in any student’s mind that he genuinely loved us and loved being our teacher. That was the only year in my memory I actually loved going to math class. It’s my belief he fulfilled a wonderful purpose and made a big difference to many young (now not so young!) people in our community during his earthly life. Thanks for sharing him with us.

Jeff Roberts

January 7, 2020

So sad to hear the news. Mr. Z was my math teacher and football coach at Centennial Junior High in 1965-66. He was always so polished and professional...never lost his cool and always had that positive smile. I've thought about him many times over the years. I am sorry for your loss. He was truly a treasure.