John Basil Zalopany

November 12, 1956April 18, 2021

The oldest son of Orest and Betty Zalopany. John was in a league of his own, an exceptional baseball player, who once was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals, and a lover of sports. Whether he was on the field or off he was always wearing a baseball cap. His demeanor was that of a tree, strong standing, grounded, beautiful (thanks to those Ukrainian roots), and stubborn. John was the kind of guy who knew where he was going, and had big dreams, especially for his family. Being the mountain man that he was he would always share his love of the outdoors with his girls. Some of the many trips include visiting the Redwood National Park, Yosemite, Mammoth, Mt. Rainer and of course Big Bear, that was a home away from home. As many of you know he also loved to fish, but his best catch was his wife, Shelley. He was a wonderful husband, companion, father and had a heart of gold, and his girls always came first. While he was a man of few words, we should all remember his sarcastic and witty humor. He seized every opportunity and would always remind us to never take life for granted.

John, we love you, you will remain forever in our hearts.


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John Basil Zalopany

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John Eady

April 28, 2021

John and I grew up together a block apart. We spent countless hours together, growing-up, playing sandlot sports, and sometimes fishing.

John could fly, I mean run past anyone. I’m sure he’s running down the field now, past everyone reaching out to catch the pass.

Its funny most of his friends saying the same thing about being sorry they lost touch with John, I feel the same way. I think that’s a testament to a pretty special individual.

I think after the catch, John is walking in a wide-open mile high meadow in the mountains.

I wish I was with him.

Rachel M

April 27, 2021

I am shocked to hear about John’s death. He was an amazing man, one who would do anything for the people he loved. He treated me like family and taught me that friends are chosen family. Him and I shared a passion for sports. The majority of our conversations were about basketball, football, and basically any athlete who was making headlines at the time. We always talked about shooting around together on the court, but never got around to it. I regret that. John extended his arm to me often, and for those times, I will truly never forget. Rest easy John, and you’re in my heart forever.

Cynthia Zdvorak

April 27, 2021

Hey John, it’s CZ,
There are a few things I want to tell you, although I think you already know...
I loved how you loved your girls and how you made their happiness and security a priority. And I want to thank you for always making me feel loved and appreciated too.
I loved the admiration you had for Shelley and how you would tell me she was your best friend... how you loved taking road trips with her because you never ran out of things to talk about.
I love the tree analogy and find it apropos. You were a good man. As Alex said, “such a strong yet gentle and kind human”.
I hate the sadness and loss I feel over the realization that we will no longer catch up over lunch. It is unfathomable right now, but I love the assurance that we will sit together again in a better place.
A friend of mine said that hellos are so much easier than goodbyes, and she is right. So until we can catch up again...
We love you Bro

PS Bill says you were even in racquetball matches so many years ago. I have a feeling he may want to settle that when he gets there 😉

Thane Bryenton

April 27, 2021

To the entire Zalopany family and our dear neice, Shelley, please accept our deepest and most sincere condolences for your loss of John.
Yes, he was a mountain man and knew exactly where he was headed in life. No one could have imagined how it would have been cut off so soon.
We have so many fond memories of John, here in Washington and in Las Vegas as well as in San Diego. My fondest memory is when our young son, at the time maybe 10, and John were talking baseball. John was so amazed that Matt knew so much about sports and stats at the time, that he said to me in private "it's like talking to a little adult."
Matt was very pleased that John gave him his Detroit Tigers baseball cap. That was quite an honour we thought.
He was an honorable man and yes, great to his girls. He'll be missed. Rest in peace #BigJohnSellsVegas

Orest Zalopany

April 27, 2021

My brother’s loss is a shock. When we were Young he was my idol and mentor. Though we have been communicating the last 18 months, I am saddened that we weren’t able to see each other but we had planned to soon. Will always miss you brother and you’ll always be in my heart.

Mike "Jim" Russell

April 27, 2021

John and I played ball together at Helix -- and though we didn't always run in the same circles, there's no question the way he approached the game gave him an edge. We were both drafted (by different teams), and both loved Baseball. I moved away from California back in '83, but would have loved to hang out with John had I stayed. The last time I saw him was at our 10th reunion -- so long ago. He was long out of school, but still had that grin and boyish charm that made him one of a kind ("...once a Scottie, always a Scottie..."). To his family left behind, I send my sincerest condolences. John was taken far too early, but I'm certain he'll live on forever (and brightly) in your memories.

Dave Rodriguez

April 27, 2021

My deepest condolences to your family. I lost touch with John after high school , but I remember him for his quick wit and gifted athleticism. He took me fishing and golfing a couple of times and I couldn’t get over how easy he made it look. We played on the basketball and baseball teams together and same thing - if he missed every practice I don’t think it would have made any difference. I wish we hadn’t lost touch. He will be missed. My prayers and thoughts are with you.

Steve Hadley

April 27, 2021

Had a great time working with John for many years. What a great guy. Always a hoot. Rest well!!!

Duane Sesma

April 27, 2021

Played baseball with John and he was so talented. Good guy and my heartfelt condolences to his family.

Ralph and Janet Phillips

April 24, 2021

We were all good friends in HS and we played on the same softball team in 95...our deepest condolences to his wife and siblings!...