William R. Zern Jr.

August 13, 1917December 31, 2012

William R. (Bill) Zern , Jr. age 95 went to his eternal home on December 31, 2012 at his home surrounded by loved ones. Bill was born on August 13, 1917 in Philadelphia, PA and was raised in Altoona, PA, came to Miami, FL in 1939, and then to West Palm Beach, FL in 1942. He played trombone in Junior and Senior High Schools, R.O.T.C. Band, Penn State Blue Band and the 3rd Army Air Force Band at Boca Raton. He graduated from Penn State with a BA in Business Administration and later graduated from the Applied Mortuary Science School at the University of Minnesota. While at Penn State he was Stage Manager of the Penn State Thespians and Treasurer of Sigma Chi Fraternity. In Altoona, he was the Secretary/Treasurer of the Life Underwriters Association. In 1946 he married Eileen Davis from W.P.B. and they were blessed with 2 sons, Mike and Jim, and 2 daughters, Carol and Marsha; 7 grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren. They were married over 60 years before Eileen preceded him in death. Bill began to work for “Moe” Mizell in 1943 and later served as Sec./Treas. of Mizell-Faville-Zern Funeral Homes for numerous years. Always generous with his time and service to others, he served as President of the WPB Rotary Club, President of the United Way of the Palm Beaches, Commander of the Palm Beach Post #12 American Legion, and President of the Palm Beach Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution. He also served ten years as Treasurer and two years as Secretary for the PB County Barbershop Harmony Society. He served as President of the PB County Funeral Directors Association, President of the “Y” Men’s Club of the Y.M.C.A. of the Palm Beaches, President of the Cotillion Club of the Palm Beaches, Treasurer of the Gold Coast Penn State Club, and Treasurer of the PB County Veterans Council. Education and religion were always very important to Bill. He served as President of Southboro Elementary P.T.A., Treasurer of Band Parents Association at Conniston and Forest Hill Schools, and Chairman of the organizing committee for Boy Scout Troop #46. He also served as Treasurer of Presbytery and Synod Committees on Christian Education; Chairman of the Finance Committee; Treasurer for the Common Christian Education Committee for both Synods of the Presbyterian Church in Florida; and Chairman, Treasurer and Book Store Manager for the Florida Presbyterian Synod Schools. Bill served as Campaign Chairman for the Red Cross and United Way; and was a member of the Jaycees and Lion’s Club. He served on the Advisory board of the Southdale Branch of the Bank of Palm Beach and Trust Company. He also served on the Scholarship Committees for the First Presbyterian Church, PB Post #12 American Legion and Rotary Club of W.P.B., as well as the The DeMolay advisory board at Harmonia Lodge #138, F.&A.M. He had a 75 year Masonic pin, and was in the Barbershop Harmony Society for over 50 years. He sang in his own Church Choir for the First Presbyterian Church, WPB for over 50 years, where he also served on many official boards and committees. Bill was a Life Member of P.B. Post #12 American Legion, and a member of the Historical Society of Palm Beach County. His chief claim to fame, though, was being the “Bat Man” – pollinating the Sausage Trees at night at places such as Bethesda-By-The-Sea, Society of the Four Arts, the Orchid Society, the residence of former Rotarian Wally Spears, as well as Bill’s own Tree. Bill said that one of his most rewarding years was from 1976 to 1977 when he was permitted to serve as the President of the W.P.B. Rotary Club, and the many great things that were accomplished. He attended five International Rotary Conventions, as well as travelling to Peru with Mel Greene, and with other club members to Barbados. Bill, his late wife Eileen, his son Mike and his son’s wife Susie are all Paul Harris Fellows in the Rotary Club. Visitation will be held 5PM – 8PM, Friday, January 4, 2013 at Mizell-Faville-Zern Funeral Home & Cremation Services, 6411 Parker Ave., West Palm Beach, FL 33405, (561) 833-4061. Funeral Services will be at First Presbyterian Church of West Palm Beach, 301 South Olive Avenue, West Palm Beach, FL 33401, (561) 655-1707 at 11AM, Saturday, January 5, 2013. In lieu of flowers donations may be made to a charity of your choice.


  • Family and Friends may gather at Friday, January 4, 2013
  • A Celebration of Life Service will be held at Saturday, January 5, 2013

William R. Zern Jr.

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Dottie Daley

January 7, 2013

I just read the paper and discovered Mr. Zern had passed. As a member for many years of First Church I knew and loved this wonderful man. He was kind and caring also lots of fun. It did not surprise me to see his list of accomplishments as he was always involved, although quietly and unassuming. Mr. Zern and his family were a special part for me of growing up at First Church. He was so kind when my father passed away and handled all the details. I am so glad I had the opportunity to know him.

Linda Witzel

January 6, 2013

I saw Mr. Zern in Church a couple of years go and he filled me in on how everybody was doing in his family and asked about mine as we have all been members of the Church for a long time. He buried both my parents. He was a kind man with a funney side. I remember him handing my brother a papaya at my mothers service. We laughed! A true loyal member to the Church and Community. He will be missed. God Bless you Mr. Zern!

Sheila Chapa

January 4, 2013

Just a note from George Harry Moore's daughter. Our dad, who worked for Mizell-Faville-Zern in the early years,always spoke very kindly of Bill Zern. May the emptiness in your hearts soon be fill with loving memories. Take time to feel God's loving arms around you in this time of lose.

Karen Stiles

January 4, 2013

Mr. Zern was a kind man who always had a great story to tell us at the Funeral home , and always a different hat. My prayers to his family.

Lise Steinhauer

January 3, 2013

I conducted an oral history interview with Bill in 2006 for the Historical Society of Palm Beach County. I thoroughly enjoyed hearing him talk about the people, places, and events of his life (in his cowboy hat, of course). He even gave me a sausage from his tree :) The video, audio, and transcript of the interview are available to the public. His love of life, especially in his advanced years, serves as a great role model, and I know he will be greatly missed by many.

Chris Ross

January 3, 2013

It is with extreme sadness that we at First Presbyterian Church of West Palm Beach mourn the passing of our beloved and esteemed member, William "Bill" Zern. His unfailing commitment to our congregation and the governing Presbytery for nearly 7 decades is unparalleled in our 90 year history. Until his passing, Bill was our oldest living member and our second longest-standing member with regards to membership years..and was honored as such earlier this year at the church's 90th Anniversary Service of Thanksgiving and Homecoming. Personally, I will always cherish the picture taken on this milestone day...with a smiling Bill as our oldest member....standing next to our daughter, Alyse, as the youngest member. The likes of Bill Zern will never pass this way again! May God comfort the entire Zern family and may Bill's legacy of kindness live on in each of you! Rest well dear friend...until we meet again. Chris and Kimberly Ross and family

January 3, 2013

I last saw Mr. Zern when I was visiting my brother, Carl M. Brown. He was a kind, gentle man who will be remembered.
Rosemary Fried

Denise Hernandez

January 3, 2013

The world has lost a wonderful, lovely, gracious and generous man with Mr. Zern's passing. My condolences to his family and many, many friends.

Paul Scott

January 3, 2013

Rest in Peace, dad.

Carol Wedge

January 3, 2013

Know you are in a better place, but there is still a hole in my heart.
Love always,