Eugene Sumner Zelch (known to friends as Gene), age 92, of Fair Lawn, died peacefully on Friday, July 7, 2017 at his home in Pompton Plains.
Born in Lewiston, ME to Leo and Lillian Zelch, Gene spent his lifetime dedicated to his friends, family and community. Following high school, Gene served in the United States Army earning a Purple Heart in 1945. Schooled at Bates College (B.S.) and then NYU (Master's in Social Studies), Gene's love of history followed him throughout his professional endeavors. While teaching in Lee, MA, he met Eileen Zemmel at the Pittsfield Jewish Center where she was leading a Young Judea group. They married in 1955 and decided to start their teaching careers in Fair Lawn. Gene served as a Social Studies teacher and department head at Fair Lawn High School, Nanuet High School, and taught at the Junior college level throughout New Jersey.
Gene enjoyed spending time with his wife and two daughters at their beach condo in Ocean Grove. After 44 years in Fair Lawn, Gene and his wife moved to Lakewood, NJ where they enjoyed a relaxing lifestyle. Active for years in religious and cultural events at both Temple Avodah and the Fair Lawn Jewish Center, Gene and Eileen remained committed to the Jewish traditions they'd been brought up with after moving to Cedar Crest Senior Living in 2008.
Preceded in death by his devoted younger brother, Raymond, Gene leaves behind his beloved wife, Eileen married 62 years, his daughter, Beth Siegel and husband, Jeffrey (of blessed memory), his daughter, Lynne Butan and husband, Kevin, and his adoring granddaughters, Allison and Emily. Gene was loved and respected by all who knew him.
The funeral service will be held on Monday, July 10, 2017 at 1:30 PM at Robert Schoem's Memorial Chapel. W-150 State Route 4 east, Paramus, NJ. Memorial donations may be made to the Jewish Council of Cedar Crest,1 Cedar Crest Drive, Pompton Plains, NJ 07444 and The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
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Published by The Record/Herald News on Jul. 10, 2017.