My father George parachuted to glory behind German lines in WWII and made his final ascent as a warrior, Sunday, November 10th, 2019.
Proud of his service to God, Country and Family, his life exemplified what it meant to extend one’s hand and bind an agreement, one person to another. This is how he lived. His word was his bond.
Born on Ludlow St. in Manhattan on March 9th, 1924, his family moved to the Zlotnick farm in Chaplin, CT, when he was 4 years old.
He enlisted in the Army Air Corps during WWII and was reassigned to the 17th Airborne, Battery B, 464th Parachute Field Artillery Battalion shortly thereafter. Glider qualified as well as a paratrooper, he participated in Operation Varsity and jumped into combat in Wesel Germany on March 24th, 1945.
Following his honorable discharge at the end of the war, he returned to the family farm and for a short term worked at Pratt and Whitney Aircraft. Introduced to my mother Zenia, by my two grandfathers Alfred and Andrew (“your son has to meet my daughter”), he proposed to my mother at the end of their fourth date at Diana’s Pool and without hesitation, she said yes.
They purchased a chicken farm in Mansfield where he built our home and continued to live the rest of their lives. In the summer of 1948, Zlotnick Construction began its roots and has continued to spread its limbs. As a third-generation company, he was so proud to see what we had become and continued to operate heavy equipment into his early 90’s.
Devastation hit our farm on September 7th, 1958 when an F2 tornado destroyed our main 300’ chicken coop and caused much damage to the other buildings as well as our house. With no insurance, my parents worked diligently over the following years, rebuilding and paying off every creditor.
A self-taught man, my father was unable to finish High School and left school in the ninth grade to help on the family farm. After the war, he would attend night school to learn drafting and blue print reading. As the company grew, my father developed clients such as Dunkin Donuts, Kentucky Fried Chicken and Burger Chef when each were in their infancies often working late into the night drawing the plans for these buildings.
Tragedy hit twice more when my brother Peter, 23, was killed unexpectedly in 1975 and again when their daughter in-law (my wife Kimberly) died of cancer at 34. Following 70 years of marriage, on July 12th, 2017, my mother, while surrounded by my sons, succumbed to Parkinson’s Disease with my father holding and caressing her hand.
My father was one of 10 children. John (who died at birth), Peter, Paul, Vera, Anna, Mania, Helen, Walter and Alex. Walter and Alex remain along with many nieces and nephews.
He was most endeared to his grandchildren Peter, Michael and Gregory, Peter’s wife Karyn, Michael’s wife Jennifer, Gregory’s best half, Kasey and SO proud of his soon to be great granddaughter, Peter and Karyn’s unborn. Our family dogs Annie and Leo offered him much love and brought unanticipated joy to his tired face.
Our family would like to personally thank Dr. Michael Keenan who helped my father so many times throughout his life. The staff of doctors and nurses in the ER and on the fourth floor at Windham Hospital, especially Dr. Cumberland whose concern and guidance for and to our family was offered in the most caring and loving manner. Yet lest we not forget his care giver Daria, Father Marc Vranes, Pauline Vromans, Lisa Fassbender, Terri and Rick Eberl, Paul Cichon, Phil Monty, Sean Cox and all those not mentioned here, whose loyalty, help and support over these last many years is undefinable.
From all of your family and friends dad, God rest your loving soul and may your memory be from generation to generation.
Memorial Donations in his honor may be made to the Holy Trinity Orthodox Church, 414 Valley St., Willimantic, CT. 06226
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