Murphy Funeral Homes


Josephine Kaiser Zillian

June 30, 1926January 26, 2021

Josephine “Jo” Kaiser Zillian, 94, devoted wife and mother passed away on Tuesday, January 26, 2021 due to complications of Covid-19. She is predeceased by her beloved husband of 57 years, Edward J. Zillian, and her sister Helen Kaiser. She leaves behind four children and four grandchildren, and will also be missed by her cousins, nieces, and nephews.

Born in Port Chester, New York, in 1926 to Mary (Murphy) and Andrew Kaiser, she was raised in the Bronx in a home built by her father. As a child, she loved to walk to the bay and spend time on the boat her father built. She absolutely adored her dog, Louis. She attended Hunter College High School and was an excellent student. She valued education and was proud to have earned the school medal in geography. She never lost her desire to learn about and see the world.

Mrs. Zillian began her professional career working as an assistant at Western Electric, where she met her future husband. She married Edward J. Zillian in 1948. They settled on Long Island, New York, until relocating to Virginia in 1966. They raised their four children in McLean, Richard J. Zillian (wife Gloria) of Herndon, Robert K. Zillian (wife Tracey) of Vienna, Patricia Z. Eppinger (husband Frederick) of Grafton, MA, and James M. Zillian of McLean.

Mrs. Zillian was a devoted member of St. Luke Catholic Church in McLean and an active volunteer in the school and its PTA for decades. An avid supporter of the activities, aspirations, and education of her children, she never missed a game, event, or meeting. She was a “Mothers Marcher” for the March of Dimes, instilling a sense of caring in her children through her loving example. She is remembered fondly by her children’s friends and family who shared that her door was always open, there was always a seat at the table.

Mrs. Zillian loved to travel. When the children were young, the trips were often nearby like the annual family camping trip to Assateague Island. Upon retirement, she traveled the world. Some of her favorite trips included her trip to Australia, cruises on the Danube and to Bermuda, and a trip to Ireland to visit her mother’s birthplace. She felt truly blessed to be a part of important cultural milestones like the openings of the Hanover Theatre, and the One City One Library branches.

Mrs. Zillian approached everything with great enthusiasm. She adored her grandchildren and nothing pleased her more than attending their activities. Well into her eighties, she put tens of thousands of miles on her car to be with Ashley Zillian and Katie, Lauren, and Andrew Eppinger. She looked forward to the calls with updates on their lives. The families’ pets were also important to her and she always remembered to ask about each and every one.

She touched the lives of so many people who will remember her warmly. She was kind and generous, elegant yet down to earth, and humble. Remembrances may be made to an organization important to you or her, including your local Salvation Army (, the Humane Society of Fairfax County (, or the Virginia German Shepherd Rescue ( Or simply hug a family member when it is safe to do so, and do an act of kindness in her memory.

A private service will be held at Quantico National Cemetery.


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


Josephine Kaiser Zillian

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