Leon J. Zlotnik
GARDNER — Leon J. Zlotnik, 91, died surrounded by his wife and daughters Jan. 9, 2016, at UMass Memorial Medical Center, Memorial Campus in Worcester after a short illness.
He was born Jan. 22, 1924, in Templeton, son of the late Antoni and Wiklonia (Ropicko) Zlotnik. He attended Gardner High School, graduating as part of Operation Graduation on May 20, 1999, surrounded by his fellow servicemen. He was a veteran of World War II, serving in the U.S. Navy; he was involved in the following battles and campaigns: Invasion of Southern France, Anti-Sub Patrol in Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and served at Guam and the Philippine Islands. He received the Good Conduct Ribbon, American Area Ribbon, American Defense Ribbon, EAME Area Ribbon with one engagement star, Asiatic-Pacific Area Ribbon and the Victory Medal.
As a teenager, he worked as a caddy at the Gardner Municipal Golf Course, and setting up bowling pins at Bowl-A-Way in downtown Gardner, where he met his wife. Leon worked at F.J. Whitney’s Furniture Manufacturing, as a milkman for Hillcrest Dairy in Sterling, Conant Ball, Saquoit Paper Company, the VFW, and Mount Wachusett Community College as a campus police officer, until his retirement.
In his younger days, Leon enjoyed golfing and fishing. His favorite pastime was sitting on his porch, playing cards and watching the birds. He also enjoyed dining out, watching his beloved Red Sox and New England Patriots, Wilson Bus tours and trips to the casino with his wife, spending time with his grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and celebrating Christmas surrounded by his family. Leon was the longest-standing member of the Gardner VFW, where he served as a member of the VFW Honor Guard.
Leon is survived by his wife of 71 years, Helen (Peters) Zlotnik; one son, Alan Zlotnik of Gardner; four daughters, Sherry Lajoie and her husband Roland, of Gardner, Christine Caisse and her husband Paul, of Baldwinville, Jessica Sbrega and her husband David, of Phillipston, and Lisa Mosher, and her husband Scott, of Athol; five grandchildren, Nathan and Adam Lajoie, Joseph and Marci Sbrega, and Hillary Mosher; one great-grandchild, Savannah Sbrega, and many step-grandchildren, step-great-grandchildren, nieces, and nephews. He was predeceased by four brothers, Peter, Alexander, Albert, and Anthony; and one sister, Veronica Boska.
Calling hours will be held Wednesday, Jan. 13, from 5 to 8 p.m., at Mack Funeral Home, 91 Vernon St., Gardner. A VFW ritual service will be held at 6 p.m. The funeral will be held Thursday, Jan. 14, at 11 a.m., in Mack Funeral Home, 91 Vernon St., Gardner. Burial with military honors will follow in St. John’s Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to a charity of your choosing.
To send an online condolence, visit www.mackfamilyfh.com.
Mack Funeral Home 91, Vernon St., Gardner, is directing arrangements.