Allen Edward Zencka
Starks & Menchinger Chapel - Saint Joseph
2650 Niles Rd
Saint Joseph, MI

Allen Edward Zencka, M.D., passed peacefully into eternal life April 14, 2021, with his loving wife, Judith, and his children at his side.

Allen was born Jan. 26, 1939, in Chicago to Dr. Edward and Edna (Zalewski) Zencka. As a first son, he was inspired to follow his father into the medical profession, practicing cardiology for more than 40 years.

Allen's faith-based education included Mount Carmel High School, Loyola University in Chicago and Creighton University in Nebraska. After teaching at Creighton for 20 years, he relocated to Southwest Michigan.

Based in St. Joseph, he created outreach cardiology clinics in area communities to meet the needs of rural patients. "Dr. Z" introduced cutting-edge technology, performing the first angioplasty in the area. He enjoyed sharing knowledge by providing education to physicians, nurses, patients and families.

Allen's strong Catholic faith was evidenced in many ways, including his daily Mass attendance, as a member of the Knights of Columbus, and his support of the Readiness Center in Benton Harbor as a volunteer.

Allen was a lifelong learner and man of many interests. At his father's side, his love of fishing began at age 5. Fishing lakes and rivers throughout the United States, he enjoyed his annual fishing trip to Canada with family and friends. Deep sea fishing off Florida, including Key West, Hawaii and New Zealand were adventurous, but he most enjoyed frequent excursions on Lake Michigan with family and friends on his fishing boat. In the fall, he enjoyed watching his favorite football teams: the Fighting Irish and the Chicago Bears.

From his childhood, Allen was a collector of stamps, coins and Lionel model trains. Allen was a master gardener, starting his plants from seed and enjoying the fruits of his labors. This interest expanded into farming, establishing Hill Road Vineyard in 1997.

Besides making his own wine, he provided merlot and pinot noir grapes to area wineries. His wine cellar reflected his appreciation of wines from around the world, sharing these with family and friends. He paired this love of wine with his gourmet cooking.

His love of the land was exceeded only by his love of flying, taking his first solo flight in 1993. Other interests included travel, photography, hiking and skiing.

Allen is survived by his wife, Judith; children, Judi (Chris) Johnson, Eric Zencka and Dawn Zencka; stepchildren, Randy (Mary Kay) Romeo, Joe (Beth) Romeo; grandchildren, Skyler, Shiloh (Ethan), Sydney, Grace, Micah, Aspen, Vita, Sierra, Jemma and Kai.

Allen was a loving and caring husband, father, grandfather and friend. He bore his long illness with patience and fortitude. His faith never wavered. Allen will be remembered as a good man.

A Mass of Christian burial will be at 10:30 a.m., Saturday, April 24, at St. Bernard's Catholic Church, 555 E. Delaware Ave., Benton Harbor, with Father James Adams officiating. Burial will follow at Riverview Cemetery in St. Joseph.

Friends can visit with the family from 5-7 p.m., with the rosary recited at 7 p.m., Friday, April 23, at Starks & Menchinger Chapel and Cremation Service, 2650 Niles Road, St. Joseph.

Memorials can be made to the Readiness Center.

To share a memory of Allen online, visit

Published by The Herald-Palladium on Apr. 20, 2021.
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5:00p.m. - 7:00p.m.
Starks & Menchinger Chapel - Saint Joseph
2650 Niles Rd, Saint Joseph, MI
Starks & Menchinger Chapel - Saint Joseph
2650 Niles Rd, Saint Joseph, MI
Mass of Christian Burial
St. Bernard's Catholic Church
555, E. Delaware Ave., Benton Harbor , MI
Funeral services provided by:
Starks & Menchinger Chapel - Saint Joseph
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Dear Dawn, Eric and Judi- I’m so deeply sorry for your loss. I have fond memories of your Dad from when you lived in Omaha. He was always interested in your activities and so kind to all of your friends. We had many laughs as kids in that house in Rockbrook! Thinking of you all and praying for peace and comfort. Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord.
Heather Ruff
April 22, 2021
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