Stephen L. Zegura

  • "He was one of the best professors in the Anthropology..."
    - Patricia McAllister
  • "Zogs - you're the best. Elizabeth, Lesley and I send you..."
    - Richard Orth
  • "We pray to God; we talk to God; But, may we scream at Him?..."
    - Stephen Baird
  • "Dear Elizabeth -- so sorry to learn of Steve's passing. ..."
    - Cathleen Bauschatz
  • "Dearest Elizabeth and family, John and I are heartbroken to..."
    - Nancy Garcia
Obituary

ZEGURA, Stephen L.

passed away on May 26, 2019, at the age of 75. Born in San Francisco, California, Steve was the eldest child of Dragomir Božo Zegura and Adele (June) Perelli-Minetti. He attended St. Brigid's School, St. Thomas the Apostle School, and Archbishop Riordan High School, and had greatly enjoyed renewing friendships with his former classmates in recent years.

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In 1965, Steve earned his BA in anthropology, magna cum laude and with departmental honors, at Stanford University, where he was a proud member of the ATO fraternity and played on the golf team. He received his master's degree and doctorate in human biology in 1971 from the University of Wisconsin (Madison), where he was a Woodrow Wilson Fellow. During these formative years, Steve made many important friendships that he cherished and actively maintained throughout his life.

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After a brief stint at New York University, Steve moved to Tucson in the fall of 1972 and was a professor at the University of Arizona, where he taught physical anthropology and human genetics for over forty years. Steve consistently showed himself to be the consummate scholar and unwaveringly loyal colleague, always interested in and supportive of others. In honor of his distinguished service, Steve received the 2009-2010 Raymond H. Thompson Award for the contributions he made to the School of Anthropology throughout his career. With a keen and discerning intellect and passion for sharing knowledge, Steve was an enthusiastic teacher and mentor who challenged and inspired his students both scholastically and in life. He authored many important research papers during his long career, including groundbreaking work on the peopling of the Americas; the Y chromosome as a marker of human pathways; and the origins, genetics, and evolution of all humanity. He especially enjoyed his time in Croatia, his father's homeland, studying the roots of the Croatian people while connecting with relatives that had remained in the "Old Country." He was also honored to write the physical anthropology entry for the Britannica Book of the Year for over a decade. Steve was immensely proud of his students and their accomplishments in anthropology and beyond and took pleasure in following their careers and debating the latest theories in the field.

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Outside of academia, Steve was a fixture on the Tucson amateur golf scene, first at Randolph Men's Club and later with the Sahuaro Men's Club, where he became known affectionately as "Doc" and "Zoggo" among his closest friends and family. Steve was a fierce competitor on the course and an even fiercer defender and interpreter of the Rules of Golf—he always played the ball as it lay and never recorded a score until the ball was in the cup. His integrity on the golf course extended to all facets of his life; he was guided by his unwavering respect for the truth and honored "the principle of the matter" over mere expediency, self-interest, or quick and easy compromises that would have betrayed his strong sense of right and wrong.

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Steve also loved rooting for (and yelling at) U of A sports teams; attending the opera, ballet, and Tucson Winter Chamber Music Festival; riding trains, trolleys, and cable cars; and visiting his beloved Bay Area—passions he passed on to his family. He especially loved cooking (and eating) good food—preferably large slabs of red meat or a hardy rigatoni with red sauce—and drinking a fine bottle of wine with friends while engaging in vigorous conversation full of hearty and heartfelt laughs, no doubt brought on by his mischievous, irreverent humor.

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Steve is survived by his beloved wife and companion Elizabeth; his son Dan, his daughter-in-law Ellen, and his granddaughters Carmen and Bethany; his daughter Krista and his son-in-law Adam (Sowlati); and his brother Petar, his sister-in-law Sue, his nephew Nathan, and Nathan's children Arden and Bryce and wife Kaila. There was nothing he enjoyed more than being surrounded by his family and close friends. Steve's love, like all aspects of him, was larger than life.

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In lieu of flowers, donations in Steve's memory can be made to the Amerind Foundation and Museum, the Colibri Center for Human Rights, the Loft Cinema, St. Michael's Guatemala Project, or a . The family will hold a public celebration of life on Saturday, September 7, 2019. Details will be published closer to the date.



Published in the Arizona Daily Star from June 1 to June 3, 2019
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