South Strafford, Vt. — Albert (Al) Zielenski, 66, passed away quietly and peacefully at home with his family on Wednesday, March 20, 2013, after a valiant fight with pancreatic cancer. Al was “born on the 4th of July” 1946. He grew up in the Poughkeepsie area and lived for a while in Philadelphia, before coming to Vermont. He went to Cornell University engineering school, graduating in 1968, and then, many years later, to Temple University to get a masters degree in mathematics teaching.
He leaves behind a loving family including Jill Michaels, his wife and partner of 33 years; his adored children, step children and children-in-law, Willow, Melissa and Noah, Jerry and Helen; and his beloved grandsons Eric, Ezra and Zachary (aka “Zonker”); his mother Josephine; his brother Mark; and the many, cousins, friends, colleagues and former students whose lives he touched.
Al had been living in Vermont for almost 22 years, most of that time in South Strafford. Before his illness, Al taught math and pre-engineering technology, most recently at Thetford Academy and before that at Riverbend Career and Technical Center. He enjoyed making math both fun and challenging and spoiled his TA homeroom students with Friday sweet treats. He was active in VTNEA, a strong supporter of the ACLU, and an enthusiastic participant in TA’s “speak chorus.” His life as a teacher followed many years as an electrical/computer engineer, mostly in Philadelphia. Al enjoyed his garden, cooking, intellectual challenges, music (especially jazz and opera), politics and travel.
Al and his family are grateful for the help of many friends and colleagues throughout his illness and for the great care he received from the staff and doctors at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center and VNA/NHVT. They are especially grateful that DHMC has a special focus on pancreatic cancer research and treatment led by Dr. J. Marc Pipas.
A celebration of Al’s life will be held on Saturday, May 11. More information will follow at a later date. His ashes will be scattered in the Atlantic Ocean off Assateague Island. Condolences may be expressed to Al’s family in an online guestbook at www.knightfuneralhomes.com.
Pancreatic cancer is a particularly deadly cancer in part because, until recently, it did not receive sufficient attention needed to diagnose and treat it early and effectively. So, in lieu of flowers, please make donations to MHMH G.I. Cancer Research in tribute to Albert Zielenski, to be sent to: Dartmouth-Hitchcock Development Office, Attn: Gift Recording, One Medical Center Drive – HB 7070, Lebanon, NH 03756-0001. With all of our support, research will help to mitigate the suffering of future pancreatic cancer patients.