As a young immigrant from Poland, Nate quickly became a studious and successful engineer. In addition to his many academic accolades and achievements, Nate’s professional career was just as illustrious. From working with the US Navy developing a secret radar technology during WWII years to rising to the executive level of defense companies, it wasn’t until 1959 when Nate co-founded Astronautics Corporation of America with his sister, the late Norma Paige. The company, which now employs over 1,200 people worldwide, became his true passion. He had been the recipient of the Billy Mitchell Memorial Awards and honors from the U.S. Air Force, Department of Defense, WI Department of Development, National Conference of Christians and Jews, and WI Business Hall of Fame for Junior Achievements, just to name a few. He also was granted honorary degrees from Marquette, UWM and MSOE.
Nate also had a passion for sailing and skiing, both of which he enjoyed until his late 80’s. He also played an important philanthropic role in his local community, national education, and the arts. Among many causes, he donated the building for the Helene Zelazo Center for the Performing Arts of UWM in honor of his late wife.
Nate will be known for his quick wit, entrepreneurial spirit and his ability to challenge people to achieve more than they ever thought they could. Nate not only inspired other immigrants, scientists and engineers, but anyone who crossed paths with him.
Nate was preceded in death by his wife, Helene, and daughter, Annette. He is survived by his son, Ronald, three grandchildren, five great-grandchildren, and his partner of 22 years, Marina. A memorial service will be held at 2 PM on Wednesday, November 28th, 2018 at Congregation Emanu-El B’ne Jeshurun, 2020 W. Brown Deer Rd., River Hills, WI. Memorial gifts can be made in memory of Nate Zelazo to: Marquette University – “Scholarship Fund – Opus College of Engineering” https://give.marquette.edu/give-online and/or Milwaukee School of Engineering online at www.msoe.edu/makeagift.
Goodman-Bensman Whitefish Bay Funeral Home
4750 North Santa Monica Boulevard (414) 964-3111