Anita Simonis Zetts

March 2, 1926December 11, 2011

Anita Simonis Zetts, 85 of Raleigh died on Sunday December 11, at Brighton Gardens. She was born on March 2, 1926, in New York, NY, daughter of the late Anthony Simonis and Johanna Rotzchen Simonis.

Anita was a life-long athlete. She, along with her gymnastics team, won a Bronze Medal in the 1948 Olympics held in London. Until recently, she continued to participate and medal in a variety of sports in the State Games and Senior Games. She always loved to travel, and participating in sports furthered her travel exploits.

She is best known for her outgoing and loving personality. She was a beacon of light to those around her. She gave of herself endlessly and always had a positive attitude. She was a loving and devoted mother and a stranger to none.

Anita is survived and lovingly remembered by her four children, Michael D. Zetts and wife Betty of Raleigh NC, Mark Zetts and wife Susan of Raleigh NC, Matthew Zetts and wife Connie of Pembroke Pines FL and Christine Carroll and husband Jim of Raleigh NC. She will also be missed by her dear grandchildren, Maggie, Chris, Kimberly, Thomas, Nathan, Robin, Matthew Jr., and John; her precious great-grandchildren, Kaley and Daniel. She was predeceased by her husband Michael D. Zetts, Sr., and brother Frank "Sonny" Simonis.

A memorial service will be held at 7:00 pm on Thursday December 15, at Mitchell Funeral Home, 7209 Glenwood Avenue, Raleigh. The family will receive friends prior to the service.

Condolences and special memories can be shared at


  • Memorial Service Thursday, December 15, 2011

Anita Simonis Zetts

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Mary Welch Baillargeon

March 18, 2012

I just received the sad news of Aunt Anita's death. My deepest sympathies go out to Michael, Matthew, Mark and Christine. Thank you for the dozens of pictures online. It has been some decades, but I recognize my cousins as kids and it was great to see Uncle Mike too. It is wonderful to fill in the years in pictures, bring back the memories and see Aunt Anita from long before I knew her. Regards, to all, cousin Mary Elizabeth Welch Baillargeon, Libertyville, Illinois,

Michael Zetts

December 16, 2011

Anita was the best mom a son could want. She was loving, supportive, courageous, and she knew how to live life. She was a model, a superb athlete, but first and foremost a loving mother. She lived life large.

She was a life long athlete. She began gymnastics and swimming at a young age in New York city at a sports club called the Turnverein, whose motto was "Sound Mind, Body and Spirit." She excelled at sports and became a part of the 1948 Olympic gymnastic team. The USA team traveled to London on the USS America where the athletes practiced on the ship's deck. This must have been particularly challenging to mom because her specialty was the balance beam. The team won the Bronze Medal that year and we still have it and treasure it. But, the medal wasn't all that important to mom. To her, the important part was the honor of participating in the Olympics and giving it her best. She always instilled in us the attitude of participating in life and giving it our best without thought to the outcome.

She took a hiatus from sports to raise the four of us, but returned once we were grown. She participated in the State Games and then the Senior Games winning medals every time in a variety of sports. While swimming was her favorite sport she would compete in about anything. One day, when she was in her late 50s, I visited her. When I drove up, I could see her in the back yard tossing a starter out of an old Ford. When I asked her what she was doing, she replied, "I'm practicing the shot put." The next day I bought her a shot, because I couldn't get the picture of my mom tossing that old starter out of my head. Actually, I still can't.

Doing more with less was a theme with our mom. She loved to travel, and this is an example of her zest for life and courage. In her senior years she traveled the country in a Dodge Caravan, sleeping in the back of the van or college dormitories. She traveled to various states participating in the State and Senior games this way. While we all worried and tried to talk her out of it, she went ahead anyway.

Skipping back to our childhood years, mom gave us unconditional love and supported us in every way. She doted on us, without spoiling us. She taught physical education at the parochial school Mark and I attended. She was a Den Mother in my Cub Scout troop. While attending parochial school, I was selected to play the part of Saint Michael in an elementary school play. Well, she sewed the most elaborate costume you could imagine, including the wings. That Halloween, she transformed the costume into a Roman soldier costume. I won the best costume award and my first regulation football as first prize.

Within the last few years her progressive dementia made it difficult to communicate. We all did what we could to make her life comfortable. But I would especially like to thank my sister Christine who went above and beyond the call of duty in caring for her every need.

Mom led a full life and was a friend to everyone she met. Personally, I believe in Heaven. And if there is anyone in heaven, I know mom is there.

Gary and Pam Tharpe

December 15, 2011

Matt, Connie and the entire Zetts family,

We are very sorry for the loss of your mother. Hang in there and may God bless you all.


Dan Hayes

December 15, 2011

My condolences in your time of sorrow,

December 15, 2011

Please accept the condolences of the men and women of the Yuma Sector. You are in our thoughts and prayers at this time of loss.

The photos show that she lived a full and interesting life. May the memories they represent help you through this difficult time.

Stephen Martin
Yuma Sector
U.S. Border Patrol

Virginia Matthews

December 14, 2011

To Chief Zetts and to the Zetts Family,

Sending you many loving thoughts and prayers during this time for your dear mother. What wonderful pictures that you have posted of her!

Sincerely, Virginia Matthews

December 14, 2011

Please accept our condolences during this time of great loss and know that you are in our thoughts and prayers. May the memory of your mom bring you joy now and in the days to come.

Randy Gallegos
Detroit Sector - US Border Patrol

Kim Lawter

December 14, 2011

May God bless you and your family in this time of sorrow.

Cosme Perez

December 14, 2011

Please accept our most heartfelt sympathies for your loss. Our thoughts are with you and your family during this difficult time. May the peace, which comes from the memories of Mrs. Zetts love shared comfort you now and in the days ahead and the love of those around you help you through the days ahead.

The Perez Family

Laurie Varner

December 14, 2011

I didn't know Anita until my brother ,Jim, married Christine in 2005. I will remember Anita for her loving and outgoing personality , her sense of humor, and especially her love for CHOCOLATE!