Edward Chester Zolkoski
December 30, 1921 ~ October 2, 2023
Resided in: Bryan, Texas
Edward Chester Zolkoski, 101, peacefully departed this life to be with our Lord in Heaven on Monday, October 2, 2023, in Bryan, Texas. Although a life-long resident of Poth, Texas, Ed and his wife, Marilyn, relocated to The Parc at Traditions in 2019 to be closer to family. Ed’s family would like to give special thanks to the nurses and staff at The Parc, the employees of Enhabit Hospice Care, and his numerous doctors, nurses and specialists for providing his outstanding care. We will always remember your patience and the kindness you showed to him during the last four years, especially during Covid.
Edward Chester Zolkoski was born to Zigmund Martin Zolkoski and Bernice Pudelski Zolkoski in Cleveland, Ohio, on December 30, 1921. Ed was an only child for seven years until the arrival of his little sister, Phyllis. He spent his childhood in the E. 81st and Superior neighborhood of Cleveland surrounded by many other Polish families. He and Phyllis loved their special family customs and church traditions, especially the celebrations surrounding Easter and Christmas at St. Casimir Catholic Church. Some of his fondest memories were building paper airplanes, teaching his sister how to roller skate, going to the drugstore with his Dad once a month to get banana splits, ice skating in Rockefeller Park, playing baseball, and watching the Cleveland Indians. Ed attended St. Casimir Grammar School and graduated from Cathedral Latin High School in 1940. While attending night college at the Case School of Applied Science in Cleveland, he was drafted and joined the United States Army in 1943 during WWII. He attended classes at Iowa State University and the University of Kansas while training with the Army and was transferred to the Army Air Corps Medical Corps at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas for medical lab training in 1944. On election night of 1944, at a U.S.O. dance in San Antonio, Ed’s world would forever change when he asked a Liberty Bell from Poth, Texas named Marilyn Reinhard to dance. He said she was “the most beautiful girl he had ever seen.” According to Marilyn, “he was a cocky Yankee, but his dancing changed my mind…we danced our hearts out.” The two were quickly engaged and later married in Poth at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church on June 5, 1946. After a brief stint living in Cleveland, the couple settled in Poth and soon welcomed three children, Michael, Cynthia and Martin. In Poth, Ed ran a combination of local businesses, including a restaurant, for the next 17 years. In 1962, he began working in metallurgy at Kelly Field and from there he retired in 1988 after 26 years of distinguished service at the San Antonio Air Logistic Center.
Ed belonged to the Knights of Columbus for 63 years and served on the Poth Planning and Zoning Commission and as Trustee of the Poth School Board. December 30, 2021 was declared Edward Chester Zolkoski Day in Poth in honor of his 100th Birthday and in gratitude for his many years serving as a community leader and inspiration to those around him. He was a devoted family man and enjoyed supporting the many endeavors of his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren and traveling with Marilyn and their family to as many places as they could go, including the beach, especially Rockport, Caribbean cruises, Las Vegas, Montreal, Acapulco, Aruba, Cancun, the Panama Canal, Alaska, Montana, Ohio, California, Georgia, Wisconsin, Missouri, Hawaii and tours up and down the East and West coasts. Ed’s love of baseball also lasted a lifetime: from scouting for the Astros, to watching every game in which his son Marty ever played, to spending 11 years playing catcher for the original Poth Bobcat baseball team, to watching his great-grandson Stone Farris develop and grow as a player. Ed also loved to sing, dance and listen to music. If you couldn’t hear him singing in the church choir, then your ears must have been broken. His family is forever grateful for the talent, love of music, joy and good times that he and Marilyn passed on to them. He and Marilyn also enjoyed playing bridge and shared many good times with their friends and family playing cards. Ed was famously proud of his family and said that their successes and happiness were his greatest joys in life. He said that he had accomplished everything he ever wanted to by marrying the girl of his dreams, raising a loving family and trying to live his life by faith and in dedication to God. He survived world wars, riots, the Texas heat, hurricanes, the internet, pandemics and everything else in between. But you could always count on him to give support, sound advice and level-headed counsel. We will remember Ed (our Dad and Popo) for his loving smile and devotion to his family, community and faith. He was truly a blessing to all who knew him in these almost 102 years and it is his family’s hope that his legacy will live on in Poth and beyond for years to come through them and others who knew and loved him.
Ed is predeceased by his parents, Zigmund and Bernice Zolkoski, his beloved wife, Marilyn Catherine Zolkoski, his son, Martin Henry Zolkoski, his sister and brother-in-law, Phyllis and Ray Salacienski, his sisters-in-law and brothers-in-law, Myrtle and Jack Lane, and Gilbert and Dorothy Reinhard, and many special friends and family. He is survived by his son and daughter-in-law, Michael and Donna Zolkoski of Richmond, Texas, daughter and son-in-law, Cynthia and Michael Adiano of Bryan, Texas, daughter-in-law, Margie Zolkoski Zaiontz, wife of Pete Zaiontz, of Falls City, Texas, his beloved grandchildren; Kristine Farris, Karen Bratcher and husband, Eric, Michael Sean Zolkoski and wife, Staci, Michelle Schumaker and husband, Todd, Amy Zolkoski Cann and husband, Taylor, Mason Zolkoski and Claire Zolkoski, his twelve great-grandchildren: Kailey, Ashleigh and Stone Farris; Melody and Avery Bratcher; Zoe and Colton Zolkoski; Reese and Nash Schumaker; and Henry, Emma and Frances Cann; his niece, Chris Wiecek, and nephews, Dan Salacienski and Ken Salacienski (Cindy), of Cleveland, Ohio. Visitation will begin at 9:30 a.m. on Friday, October 6, 2023, at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church, Poth, Texas, followed by the recitation of the Holy Rosary at 10:30 a.m. The Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11:00 a.m. followed by Interment in the Blessed Sacrament Cemetery. Serving as pallbearers are: Mason Edward Zolkoski, Michael Sean Zolkoski, Taylor Cann, Stone Farris, Eric Bratcher, Todd Schumaker and Ken Salacienski. Ed’s family would like to invite all guests to the parish hall for lunch and fellowship in his honor immediately after the services conclude on Friday. In lieu of flowers, please consider making donations in Ed’s honor to the Poth Education Foundation at P.O. Box 1082, Poth, Texas 78147 or www.potheducationfoundation.us.