Easthampton - Chester F. Zaik, 93, of Taft Avenue, died Monday, Aug. 25, 2014, after a brief illness.
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Born July 16, 1921 in Easthampton, he was a son of the late Stanley and Mary (Borowin) Zaik. He attended Sacred Heart School and graduated from Easthampton High School in 1939.
After high school, Chester worked in a civil service position at the Boston Navy Yard until he was drafted into the U.S. Army. Possessing excellent typing, stenography, spelling and grammar skills, he was assigned to serve his tour of duty (1942-1946) as staff sergeant and chief clerk at the headquarters for the Chemical Warfare Service in Cairo, Egypt. Chester regarded his military service as a period of valuable opportunities and experiences. His time in the service also afforded him memorable furlough travel to Palestine, Rome and Cyprus.
In his youth and after the war, Chester worked with his father, who owned Easthampton's Zaik Dairy located on Federal Street in the New City neighborhood. A devoted son, he assumed responsibility for the business when his father could no longer perform the demanding work of daily milk delivery to customers in the community.
While continuing to "peddle milk," Chester took evening business courses at Western New England College to facilitate his transition into public service in Easthampton. From 1967 until 1984 he worked as Easthampton's assistant assessor, and he was credentialed as a certified Massachusetts assessor. From 1984 until his retirement in 1989, he worked as Franklin County's assessor consultant. Additionally, for decades, Chester worked part-time with his brother, Walter S. Zaik of Easthampton, providing accounting and tax preparation services to many local businesses and individuals.
A lifelong communicant of the former Sacred Heart of Jesus Church, now Our Lady of the Valley Parish, he served for many years as a lector at English and Polish Masses. He was a shareholder of the Polish Pulaski Club of Easthampton Inc., a member of the Knights of Columbus, Easthampton Council No. 1116 and a member of the Massachusetts Retired State, County and Municipal Employees Association.
Like many Easthampton men of his generation, Chester grew up playing baseball in local leagues and participating in the area's thriving ballroom, swing and polka dancing culture of the pre- and post-war years. He was an avid golfer, a lifelong sports fan, a discerning viewer of classic and contemporary films and a well-read, well-informed individual who also enjoyed listening to music of the big-band era.
Chester's keen mind, modest and easygoing nature, youthful perspective, unfailing sense of humor and wide range of interests attracted friends of all ages and from all walks of life. His excellent lifelong health until recent months allowed him the pleasure of strolling in and around Daley Field and Taft Avenue, where he could often be found visiting with friends and acquaintances.
In 1958, Chester married the former Helen D. Muraszko of Northampton, who predeceased him in 1999. He is survived by his children, John, of Los Angeles, and Marjory, of Easthampton; his brother, Walter S. Zaik of Easthampton; and many nieces, nephews, grandnieces, grandnephews and their families. He was predeceased by his sisters Stella LaCroix, Sophie Ciak, Helen McDermott and Evelyn Mullen.
Calling hours will be held Friday, Aug. 29, 2014, from 10 to 11:30 a.m. at the Graham Funeral Home, 18 Adams St., Easthampton, followed by a graveside service with military honors at 11:45 a.m. at St. Stanislaus Cemetery in Easthampton.
Graham Funeral Home
18 Adams Street
Easthampton, MA 01027
Published in Daily Hampshire Gazette from Aug. 26 to Aug. 27, 2014