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DANIEL WEST ZUGELTER Daniel West Zugelter, 88, died
peacefully on April 1, 2014 at Hospice House in Vero Beach, Florida surrounded by the love of his adoring family. He was born on November 21, 1925 to George and Janette (West) Zugelter in Cincinnati, Ohio. Left to cherish his memory are his wife of 63 years, Ann Zugelter, his son, Tom, his 'daughter'- in-law, Joyce (Walk) Zugelter, and his two beloved grandsons, Kyle and Austen; all of Vero Beach, Florida. He is preceded in death by his son, Ted Austin Zugelter and served as an advocate for the voiceless victims of mental illness in his son's memory. After his military service in World War II, Dan graduated from the University of Cincinnati, with extended international economics studies at the University of Birmingham, England and the University of Leyden, Holland. A born entrepreneur, he began his career in the wholesale automotive oil and parts distribution business in Cincinnati, Ohio, growing the business from zero investment to the 3rd largest Cincinnati distributor in less than ten years. After dedicating many years to the business, he moved his family to St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands to enjoy more time with his two sons, Tom and Ted and to pursue his love of boating. Although his intention was to semi-retire, he was persuaded to accept the position of overseeing the conversion of Lawrence Rockefeller's luxury hotel into a college preparatory school; subsidized by Leon Hess to offer his top Hess Oil Refinery executives a quality education for their children. He also served as the CFO, responsible for monitoring the school's funding. Dan soon discovered his talent for and love of construction. As the Good Hope School enrollment grew, so did the need for the construction of additional buildings, the greatest challenge was the expansion of the Ward Canady Library. His zeal for building led him to found Zugelter Construction Company and he subsequently began the construction of high- end homes, built in the authentic Caribbean-Georgian style. After 16 years of island living, St. Croix's rising crime rate forced Dan to move his family and Zugelter Construction Co. North to Florida, first to Palm Beach County in 1981 and then to Vero Beach in 1988. It was here that he and his son, Tom, continued the work of Zugelter Construction Corp. After a long and successful career of custom home building, Dan retired at age 75, eager to pursue his other passion, the creation of a 20' x 30' model railroad, HO scale replica of the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad, in the era of the Golden Age of Steam. His model layout replicated steam engine operations and trackage in the New River Division around the town of Hinton, West Virginia, circa 1938. When completed, it became highly regarded as one of the Top 10 model railroad layouts in the United States, resulting in a featured presentation on PBS and many articles in the various model railroader magazines. He also wrote a book, Chesapeake & Ohio, Steam in Color as Modeled by Dan Zugelter and produced a movie as a companion, to share his passion and artistry with fellow model train enthusiasts. Recently, his railroad was dismantled and transported to a museum in Hinton, West Virginia; becoming one of the few layouts of its kind to ever be successfully transported. In his remaining years, Dan had time to indulge his appreciation for the marvel and complexity of nature. Dan and Ann's home, one of the five original residences in Orchid Island Golf & Beach Club, provided a perfect observation point from which he could contemplate the miracle of the Creator's divine order. Dan's greatest happiness, however, was spending time with his family; his love for them and his pleasure in their accomplishments provided his greatest happiness. His grandsons, Kyle and Austen were his pride and joy. Dan was loved for his humility, innate good manners, highly honed sense of humor and his unwavering optimism. He will be missed by many, but above all, by his adoring family, as he was their ideal exemplar of a true gentleman, an intellectual and a man of integrity. Per Dan's wishes, a private, family celebration of life service will be held at a future date in May. In lieu of flowers, donations in his name and in memory of his son, Ted Austin Zugelter, may be sent to the Suncoast Mental Health Center, 2814 US 1, Ft. Pierce, Fl 34982. His family would like to extend their deepest appreciation to everyone at the VNA Hospice House, Vero Beach, Angels Amongst Us, for the loving care that helped make Dan's passage so very peaceful. Arrangements are under the direction of Strunk Funeral Home, Vero Beach. A guestbook is available online at

Published in the TC Palm on Apr. 5, 2014
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