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Obituaries

26
November

Nathan Zelazo

Obituary

Nathan Zelazo

On Thursday, November 22nd, 2018, Nathaniel “Nate” Zelazo, loving husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather, passed away at the age of 100.

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

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4 Comments

  1. LEONARD SONNY MARCUS 11/26/2018 8:25 pm

    I PERSONALLY NEVER MET NATHAN, HOWEVER, AFTER READING NATHAN’S BIOGRAPHY, I AM SO VERY SORRY THAT I MISSED HIM DURING HIS LIFE. IT GRIEVES ME THAT YOU HAVE LOST A DEAR FAMILY MEMBER, BUT IT MAKES ME VERY HAPPY TO HEAR ABOUT THE WONDERFUL “GIFTS” HE HAS GIVEN TO OUR WORLD . PLUS YOUR FAMILY CAN BE SO VERY PROUD OF HIM..

    SINCERELY, SONNY MARCUS

    Reply
  2. Captain Mark A. Seigel, MBA 11/27/2018 5:17 am

    Please accept our deepest condolences on the passing of your wonderful Father, Nate.

    May you and your family know only from happiness & joy from now on and forever.

    Captain Mark A. Seigel, MBA and your SCHI Family

    Reply
  3. Raquel Lauritzen 11/28/2018 2:54 pm

    Mention Nate’s name, and two words come to mind: extraordinary and spectacular! As he would say, I’m taking a gestalt approach here. Nate was endowed with capabilities and capacities that are rarely found in a single human being. When God was passing out genius, creativity, courage, vision, physical stamina and emotional strength, Nate must have gone back for seconds, thirds, and fourths. He was, as his name signifies, a gift from God. Nate also had luck. Through a fortuitous twist of fate, he came to America and used his gifts, combined with extraordinary hard work, to strengthen our country and enhance the lives of others, developing innovative technology for both military and civilian uses. He created thousands of jobs for people in the U.S. and abroad, frequently in areas where there was high unemployment. He is what had made America great, but the problem is that they don’t make them like him anymore. Indeed, they never made anyone quite
    like Nate in the first place. His dry wit, love of the arts, and generosity (some people would say I’m going a bit overboard here, but at UW-M we knew this was true) were very special. He was an excellent teacher–whether it was a lesson in music, sailing, and the like, Nate possessed bountiful patience and made his pupils feel relaxed and receptive. Being around him was always fun and fraught with the unexpected! Thank you for being you, Nate! It was a privilege and honor to have been a friend.

    Reply
  4. Dick Rohlinger 11/29/2018 12:43 pm

    My condolences to all the family. I have very good memories of Nate from my initial interview with him to a conversation with him 16 years later on my last day. Every exchange was a lesson of business and life. Later in my career I frequently referenced the lessons I learned from Nate and his staff. My time at Astronautics turned out to be a highlight of my career, and I thank Nate and Ron for the opportunity.

    Reply

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