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Joan Louise (Zellem) Zerfoss

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Joan Louise (Zellem) Zerfoss, 79, died May 11, 2012, with family and friends by her side at Sarah Reed Retirement Center. Undying are the memories of her positive, "never quit" attitude, her friendliness to all, and her devotion to family. She was the youngest daughter of Bessie (Baba) and Theodore Zellem's 12 children, born on July 7, 1932 in Listie, near Somerset, Pa. She graduated as her high school valedictorian and married Eugene E. Zerfoss. Joan was a writer for the Somerset American and authored an autobiography, "Living with Our Genes." She also worked for the Meadville Tribune, the Girl Scout office in Meadville, and the Orange County Health Department, from which she retired at age 69. Despite a three-year battle with ovarian cancer, she lived independently, most recently in Gallatin, Tennessee, where she worked part-time in a senior center until just a few months before her passing. She loved music and played trumpet and organ. She was preceded in death by her husband, Eugene E. Zerfoss; and her granddaughter, Chelsey Joanne O'Neill; also her siblings, Mike Zellem, Mary Mackanych, Anna Pritts, Nick Zellem, Lucy Bedzyk, Steve Zellem, and Theodore Zellem. Joan is survived by five children: Judy McFadden of Andover, Mass., Nancy O'Neill of Erie, Eugene Zerfoss, Jr. of Orlando, Fla., Atty. Jill (Robert) Grim of Hendersonville, Tenn., and Melody (Michael) Gaeta of Boston, Mass.; grandchildren: Brady, Casey, Judy, and Shannon O'Neill of Erie and Alex and Brian Grim of Hendersonville, Tenn.; a great-grandaughter Sophia Munzi; and surviving siblings: Rose Dofner, George Zellem, Dan Zellem, and Paul Zellem. Friends may call Tuesday, May 15 from 2 until 5 and 7 until 9 p.m. at the Brugger Funeral Homes & Crematory, 1595 West 38th Street, Erie. A service will be held Wednesday, May 16 at 10 a.m. at the funeral home with Rev. Lee Pomeroy of Summit United Methodist Church officiating. Burial Erie Cemetery. Memorials may be made to the John Kanzius Research Foundation, 130 West 8th Street, Erie, PA 16501 or the LECOM Scholarship Fund, 1858 West Grandview, Erie, PA 16509. Condolences at bruggerfuneralhomes.com.

Published in the Erie Times-News on May 13, 2012
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