Joel Zachrich, 68, a resident of Eaton Rapids, Michigan died on Sunday, May 2 at his residence and in the company of his dear friend Deb Snider. He was a prior resident of Defiance, Ohio, Dearborn Heights, Michigan and Lakewood, Colorado. Joel was born August 3, 1952 in Defiance, Ohio to Charles and Mary (Hill) Zachrich. He grew up fishing, hunting and exploring nature in Northwest Ohio. He graduated from Crestwood High school in Dearborn Heights, Michigan in 1970. That same year he took his first flying lesson as a graduation present. Joel continued to fly, adding licenses and time to his aviation career. His career as a pilot began at the Defiance Ohio County airport doing charters and air taxi flights. He did flying stints in Plymouth, Michigan, Birmingham, AL, Albuquerque, NM, Phoenix, AZ and Las Vegas, NV. All of these stops enabled him to make the progression to turbine engine and, finally jet aircraft. After this period, Joel started flying 747’s internationally. He visited every continent, but Antarctica. Joel had reached his goal in life. His career, family and life goals had been achieved. In 2015, Joel retired from his corporate flying job. Joel moved to Eaton Rapids, Michigan to hunt, fish and teach soaring. Joel was determined to become involved in his newly adopted residence in Eaton County, Michigan. Though retired, he was active in the local organizations of AARP, CERT, Eaton County Republican Party and with the Eaton County Sheriff Office. Surviving are his children Robert Zachrich and Sarah Zachrich of Lakewood, Colorado; his brother Charles (Connie) Zachrich II of Castle Rock, CO, and sister, Deborah Z. (Roger) Gunderson of Fort Collins, CO. Preceding him in death were his father; Charles Zachrich, mother; Mary Zachrich, brother: Michael and Greg Zachrich. He loved his dog Trapper, who survives him and is now a companion to Deb Snider, a very close friend of Joel’s, who extended kindness in making his last year of life better. The family also appreciates the efforts of the Sparrow Herbert Cancer Center and the Eaton Rapids Medical Center. An informal memorial gathering will be held at the Eaton Rapids Conservation Club, 4483 Freeman Road, Eaton Rapids, MI, 48827 on Sunday, June 27 from Noon to 4 p.m. A lunch will be served at 1 p.m. Attendees are asked to bring photos, JZ memories/stories and any interesting items to share. Further Information may be seen at the Skinner Funeral Home website. Joel requests any donations may be made to the Eaton Rapids Conservation Club, PO Box 163, Eaton Rapids, MI 48827 in his name.
Published in Heritage Newspapers on Jun. 2, 2021.