George John Zahringer Jr. of Rye, N.Y., passed away peacefully in his sleep on October 5, 2022, after a full and glorious life of 100 years. He is survived by his loving and devoted wife of 71 years, Rosemary Duncan Zahringer, and a large family.
Born July 18, 1922, in Naperville, Illinois, Jack, as he was called, was the son of Mary Bernice (Croarkin) and George John Zahringer Sr. He grew up in a well-known and respected family. Equally enthusiastic assisting at mass as an altar boy or leading his troop as an Eagle Scout, his youth presaged the qualities that would characterize his life — a life of energy, activity, centered on faith, family, friends, and civic duty.
Jack matriculated at Northwestern University, a member of the class of 1947. He would go on to bleed purple for the rest of his life. His collegiate experience was formative, and later in life he would happily and fondly recount, to family and friends alike, tales of his campus glory days, cheering on the Wildcats as freshman football manager in “dirty-white bucs”, the epitome of studied casualness.
A diligent student, Jack earned a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry. He would also serve as Yearbook Manager and pledge the Delta Tau Delta fraternity, a source of long-lasting friendships.
His undergraduate years were interrupted by World War II. Commissioned as a Lieutenant in the U.S. Army, Jack’s military service would see him sent to Georgia Tech for further education by the Army Corps of Engineers. After the war, Jack attended Harvard Business School, class of 1948, on the G.I. Bill, where he would earn a Master’s in Business Administration and forge further friendships that spanned the decades.
Jack met his future beautiful wife Rosemary, whom he affectionately called Roso, in Chicago and they were wed in 1951 at St. Malachy in Creston, Iowa.
His working life saw him in a long, successful career in chemical engineering. He would go on to start his own marketing firm. In his “retirement” career, he worked with Jed Dolce in real estate.
A celebrated Rye resident since 1966, Jack was a civic-minded citizen who selflessly gave his time and energy to the community. He was a loyal Lions Club and Rotary Club member, joined the Rye Board of Architectural Review, and would chair the Rye Landmarks Committee well into his tenth decade. A life-long student of history, he would work to protect Rye’s historical integrity, a task that included restoring Rye’s three Boston Post Road mile-markers, fixed by Benjamin Franklin himself in 1763. For his indefatigable efforts as protector of Rye’s history and recognizing his storehouse of local knowledge, Jack, at age 98, received the Mayor John Carey Merit Award, presented to a Rye resident who has “made meaningful contributions to public life in the City of Rye for an extended period.”
In addition to his love of college football, Jack was an avid sports enthusiast himself. A past member of Westchester Country Club and a current member of the American Yacht Club, he played golf, squash, and successfully drop-shotted his grandchildren on the tennis court into his late eighties.
The last of the Greatest Generation, in a life that bridged two centuries, Jack personified those values of personal responsibility, duty, honor, and faiththat had been instilled in him from youth.
He was adored by his five children: George J. Zahringer III (Natalia), Martha Z. Jeffrey, James D. Zahringer (Madeleine), Charles J. Zahringer (Edmee), and Anne Z. Ogilvy.
He will be profoundly missed by all his family, including his twenty-one grandchildren: George IV, Killian, Lauren, Alexander, and Christina Zahringer; William, John, and Christian Jeffrey; James Jr. (Ashlee), Charlotte, Dashiel, Kendall, and W. Kress Zahringer; Lucia (Fritz Coan), Charles Jr., Graham, Kylie, and Frederick Zahringer; Charlotte and Margaret Poler; and Melinda Ogilvy; and his four great-grandchildren: James III and Summer Isabelle Zahringer; and Schaefer and Heidi Coan. He was predeceased by his sisters, Lee Ann Stine, Mary Lou Mitchell, and Jean Burke.
A Mass of Christian Burial at Church of the Resurrection in Rye will be announced at a future date.