Michael Rocco Zarro

July 23, 1932December 14, 2018

Michael Rocco Zarro, 86, of Solana Beach, California, passed away on Friday, December 14, 2018 with his children by his side. He has joined the love of his life of 56 years, Phyllis, and is in the company of the Lord. He was highly respected and an inspiration to all who knew him.

Mike was born in Newark, New Jersey in 1932. He grew up in the First Ward with his four brothers and one sister. He was the youngest of the six Zarro children born to Maria and Sabino Zarro. Growing up on Seventh Avenue, he was surrounded by important influences and love that shaped his early life. As a young man, he was intent on improving himself with the strong principles of family and faith at his core. His interests were many: devotion to St Lucy’s Catholic Church in Newark, involvement in local politics, playing the trumpet, and photography. He was also an associate of the Royal Nuts social club, like his brothers, and he always maintained high standards for his school work.

He graduated from Newark State Teacher’s College in 1954 (now Kean University), and completed his Masters of Arts in Education at Seton Hall University in 1956. He credited his brothers and sister as an integral part of being the first in his family to graduate college.

After graduating, Mike pursued a career in public service as a teacher and administrator. In 1959 he accepted an assignment with the U.S. Department of Education and spent a year teaching in Germany. His most impactful assignment was his last as an assistant principal at Quitman Street School in Newark where he played a role in the integration of all students. In 1967 he joined the PERL Organization full-time and quickly ascended in sales leadership. In 1970, he was recruited to be the Director of Sales at Rancho La Costa Properties in Carlsbad. Shortly thereafter, he and Phyllis moved their family to Solana Beach. Mike was an accomplished sales leader, public speaker, and advocate for personal responsibility. He and Phyllis enjoyed Solana Beach as residents for the last 48 years.

After his career in real estate, Mike enjoyed many interests including travelling with Phyllis, his association with the House of Italy, the Italian Club, investing, and morning coffee with the neighbors. He took great pride in teaching his children and grandchildren the principles dear to him ensuring they had the appropriate appreciation of their culture and knew, through him, those that came before them.

Mike is survived by his children, Michael and Patti Zarro, Thomas and Kim Zarro, Cynthia and Ted Hauptman, Lynn and Wade Roberts, Craig and Kimberly Zarro, his sister-in-law and brother-in-law Angela and Kurt Schranz, and the pride of his and Phyllis’ life together, their 12 grandchildren. A Rosary in his honor will be held on Tuesday, January 1st at 5 pm at El Camino Memorial, 340 Melrose Ave, Encinitas, 92024. A funeral mass will be held on Wednesday, January 2nd at 11 am at St James Catholic Church, 625 S. Nardo Ave, Solana Beach. A reception will immediately follow.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to the House of Italy at 415 Laurel Street, #301 San Diego, CA 92101, or the St. James Catholic Church Capital Fund.


  • Rosary & Visitation Tuesday, January 1, 2019
  • Celebration of Life Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Michael Rocco Zarro

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