John Louis Zorack
February 23, 1925 – July 31, 2018
John Zorack passed away on July 31st in Sarasota, Florida, surrounded by members of his family. He was 93.
John Louis Zorack was born in Colorado Springs, CO on February 23d, 1925 to Margaret Belloni and Metro Maksymiuk, both immigrants, his mother from Italy and father from the Ukraine. As a boy he lived with his father, a miner, while attending Ivywild elementary school. In fifth grade when John’s father was no longer able to care for him John was moved to the Myron Stratton Home where he lived for seven years and eventually attended Cheyenne Mountain High School. He later graduated from Colorado College with a BA in English and Political Science before going on to earn a Master of Arts degree from American University and eventually a law degree from Denver University, passing the bar in Washington DC.
He enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in 1943 as part of the V12 program at Colorado College, eventually serving in WW II, Korea and Vietnam. His first mission in the Second World War was to be part of the initial Marine division that entered Nagasaki, just after the atom bomb had been dropped. On the other end, in Vietnam, John served as the First Marine Division Legal Officer, a job that required him to interact with Vietnamese villagers, which meant he needed a translator. He found one in a bright 13 year-old boy named Binh Nguyen who eventually became a son to John. John eventually got Binh out of Vietnam during the fall of Saigon and made him a part of his family. A good portion of John’s military career stateside was spent as a recruiter and eventually a legal officer in the Department of Legislative Affairs. John retired as a Lieutenant Colonel before becoming a legislative attorney representing the Air Transport Association (ATA) and Pan American Airlines.
His professional achievements included engineering legislation that deregulated the airfreight industry, thus allowing one of his clients and former fellow Marine, Fred Smith, to expand his small business into a airfreight empire. That business was Federal Express. Because of his sharp acumen and solid people skills, John’s work as a lawyer/lobbyist was later featured in a segment of 60 Minutes in which Morley Safer nicknamed him, Zorack the Magnificent. Among other achievements he was a guest lecturer at Harvard’s JFK School of Government, George Washington University, before the Russian Duma and members of the Israeli Parliament. John was author of a definitive book on his profession, The Lobbying Handbook. He was also the author of a children’s book, Zoe, Zak and Zork about children building a robot to save endangered species.
John married Joanne Helen Yearsley on May 28th, 1949. They first met at a restaurant he owned and operated in Colorado Springs while attending graduated school. His establishment was aptly named The College Kitchen. One day a fetching freshmen named Joanne walked in and asked John to warm up a can of soup she had brought along. She caught his eye and then captured his heart. They were married six weeks later at the courthouse in Colorado Springs. He became her devoted husband and she his devoted wife for 69 years. Noted by many family members as a short order cook par excellence, John had a penchant for cinnamon rolls, soups and spaghetti sauce. His children and grandchildren particularly loved his “power breakfast” of eggs, onions and potatoes.
His work with the airlines afforded him the opportunity to travel extensively with his wife and children, including trips all the way from Africa to the Amazon. Another passion was music. Early in his life he played violin. At Cheyenne Mountain High School he learned to square dance from Lloyd Shaw. By college he was playing trombone and eventually formed his own dance band. Throughout his life John enjoyed playing, listening and dancing to music of many genres, especially Big Band.
John also had a spirit of adventure, reflected in a wide range of interests that included water skiing, scuba diving, farming, family trips to Nagshead, NC (these usually included a family talent show), crabbing, writing poetry, producing ecumenical theatre, composing songs and of course, dancing. During his years as a recruiter he personally managed to secure such luminaries as the Everly Brothers, Doris Day and Patsy Cline to make special recordings to promote the Marines.
John is survived by his wife, Joanne and his brother Joe Zorack; his four daughters, Lynn Susan (Dee) Jones, Jan Phyllis (Randy) Ruse, Endya Patricia (Russell) Rose, Jill Marie (Douglas) Udell, Binh (Khoa) Nguyen; his grandchildren, Jessica Hope Jones, Jocelyn Michala (Robert) Holm, Zachary L. (Stephanie) Jones, Jordan Alexander Jones, Jonathan Brett Jones, Joshua David Jones, Joanna Lynn (Ethan) Greene, Josiah Thomas Jones, Shannon Joanna Rose, Sean Daryl Rose, Matthew Wayne Rose, Justin James DeSimone, Erik Rose, Kevin Rose, Katherine Elizabeth Udell, John Nguyen, Minh Nguyen, Kiet Nguyen, Trang (Aaron) Thomasy; 25 great-grandchildren and 1 great-great-grandchild.
- Margaret (Belloni) Maksymiuk, Mother
- Metro Maksymiuk, Father
- Joe Zorack, Brother
- Joanne Zorack, Wife
- Lynn Susan & Dee Jones, Daughter & Spouse
- Jan Phyllis & Randy Ruse, Daughter & Spouse
- Endya Patricia & Russell Rose, Daughter & Spouse
- Jill Marie & Douglas Udell, Daughter & Spouse
- Binh & Khoa Nguyen, Son & Spouse
- John Louis Zorack is also survived by his grandchildren, Jessica Hope Jones, Jocelyn Michala (Robert) Holm, Zachary L. (Stephanie) Jones, Jordan Alexander Jones, Jonathan Brett Jones, Joshua David Jones, Joanna Lynn (Ethan) Greene, Josiah Thomas Jones, Shannon Joanna Rose, Sean Daryl Rose, Matthew Wayne Rose, Justin James DeSimone, Erik Rose, Kevin Rose, Katherine Elizabeth Udell, John Nguyen, Minh Nguyen, Kiet Nguyen, Trang (Aaron) Thomasy; 25 great-grandchildren and 1 great-great-grandchild.
- Memorial Service Wednesday, August 8, 2018
- Interment with Military Honors
John Louis Zorack
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August 13, 2018
John will always be a very important part of our life. We celebrated so many happy times with him. I always looked forward to being able to share a dance with John. He was the best.
Rest in peace.
Quoting the last stanza of the Marine Corp Hym
"If the Army and the Navy
Ever look on heaven's scenes;
They will find the streets are guarded
By United States Marines"
Semper Fi !
August 9, 2018
John Zorack was the father of Lynn Susan Zorack, my best friend for years during a fragile but exciting time in both our lives when we were new, Spirit-filled Christians in the early 1970's. I loved visiting the Zorack household in Springfield, Virginia and Lynn grew fond of my parents' newly purchased farm in Singers Glen, Virginia. I worked with John on a children's book and appreciated his many talents. Joanne was precious to me and, later, the whole family. I loved Dee and was part of their wedding. Many musical ventures followed as our young crowd grew in our faith and, musically, in praise. John and Joanne are a testament to how excellent, loving parentage often produces loving, wonderful children. My love to Joanne and Jill, Pat and Jan. Sincerely, Shannon DeVall
August 9, 2018
I just learned of John's death and wanted to express my condolences to all his family, especially to Joanne. I worked for John when he was at Pan Am and enjoyed his leadership and friendship. At first, John was quite reluctant to have a young woman as his team partner, thinking a tough guy would be better. Over our short time together he began to realize there were also benefits to having me on board as we provided a balanced front and got things done. Our respect for each other grew and blossomed as did our professional partnership. John was a good mentor and a thoughtful and caring family leader, proud of his girls and then loving having Ben and his family join his clan. May God Rest His Soul and may you all find peace and acceptance in the wonderful man who led and cared for all of you.