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Robert Walter Zaleski

May 17, 1946 February 26, 2021
Robert Walter Zaleski
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Obituary for Robert Walter Zaleski

Robert Walter Zaleski, 74, a resident of Pensacola, Florida, passed away peacefully at his home on February 26, 2021 after a lengthy illness in the care of his loving son. In his final days, he was blessed with many miracles and God’s love was ever-present.

Robert, better known as Bob was born on May 17, 1946 in Berwick, Pennsylvania to the late Walter Adam and Nellie Elaine Zaleski, both silk mill workers and children of Polish immigrants from Augustów, Poland. He was the only son and youngest of three children. His sisters Elaine and Marilyn have said that he was the pride and joy of the entire Zaleski family, as he was the only one to carry on the Zaleski family name.

Around age 9, the Zaleski family relocated to Cleveland, Tennessee where Bob lived out the remainder of his adolescent years. He was a graduate of Bradley Central High School, class of 1964. In high school he played baseball and became affectionately known as the “Zeke” by his peers. His love for Tennessee extended into football where he became a devoted lifetime Tennessee Vols fan. He often said when he died, he wanted his ashes spread on the 50 yard line at Neyland Stadium with everyone singing Rocky Top.

After high school Bob enlisted in the United States Navy. He served for 4 years as a Hospital Corpsman before receiving an honorable discharge. His time in the Navy brought him to Pensacola, Florida where he met and married Susan Jan Sherrer and became a father to his only child, his son Shane Zaleski. While in Pensacola, he enjoyed a short lived dream of being a race car driver. He would tell you with his witty sense of humor, the only race he ever won was because no one showed up to compete, but he happily accepted that win.

Later in life, Bob married his true love, Yvonne Johnson of Pensacola. His family grew abundantly as he was blessed with a blended family of daughters... Danette, Denise, Cyndi and Donna. Throughout their marriage, they lived in Pensacola, Florida; Cleveland, Tennessee; Ontario, California; Greenville, South Carolina and Amelia Island, Florida. During his life he had many different careers of choice, but his most loved was during his time in the quaint little town of Amelia Island where he worked for the family operated business, Amelia Island Carriages, that was owned by his daughter Cyndi. Bob was often seen on the island as coachmen with horses Boomer, Rowdy or Jazz in the lead, giving guided tours in the historic district telling ghost stories and pirate tales. He had always had a love for horses and had a special connection to Rowdy. In many ways they were kindred spirits with much in common because of Rowdy’s namesake.

Bob’s greatest pride was his son, Shane. He took great joy in watching him become a successful man who is a devoted husband and father. He was affectionately known as Gramps to his three beautiful granddaughters, Fallon Magee, Riley Kathryn, and Abigail Mae. With them he enjoyed going on many family vacations to Helen, Georgia where he enjoyed tubing the Hooch and Pensacola Beach, Florida where he took many boating trips to Sand Island with his family. In addition, he loved being Gramps to all his grandchildren from his blended family.

In the final years of Bob’s life, he returned back to his familiar home of Pensacola, Florida where he met and became a loyal companion to Terri Belk of Pensacola, Florida. Bob enjoyed Terri’s home cooking and sharing family moments with her children and granddaughters. During his many years in Florida he developed a love for the water and often enjoyed days at the beach, boating and fishing. Throughout his many different paths in life, he made many friendships and was loved by all. He will forever be remembered for his master story telling, sense of pride, free spirit and for the charming, gentle, kind man whose sense of humor would bring a smile to your face.

Bob is preceded in death by his beloved parents, Walter and Nellie Zaleski of Cleveland, Tennessee; sister, Elaine Brewer of Santa Monica, California; and first wife, Susan Sherrer of Perdido, Florida.

Bob is survived by his son Shane Zaleski and daughter in law Michelle Monroe Zaleski of Union, Ohio; granddaughters Fallon Magee Silvola (Erik) of Orlando, Florida, Riley Kathryn Zaleski and Abigail Mae Zaleski both of Union, Ohio; his sister Marilyn Zaleski Brantley Gatzke (Jerry) of Warner Robins, Georgia; Beloved former wife, Yvonne Zaleski of Amelia Island, Florida; her daughters Danette Christianson (Dave) of Pensacola, Florida, Denise Chylak (Michael) of Woodland, Washington, Cyndi Myers (Jeff) of Pensacola, Florida, Donna Elrod (Ted) of Knoxville, Tennessee and his extended grandchildren; partner, Terri Belk of Pensacola, Florida; nieces Kimberly Brewer of Playa Vista, California and Beth Brewer of Los Angeles, California; Nephews, Jim Brewer of Scottsdale, Arizona, Dr. Gerald Keith Brantley (Kathy) of Perry, Georgia, Scott Brantley (Amy) of Kathleen, Georgia, Michael Brantley (Kathleen) of Knoxville, Tennessee, Mark Brantley (Susan) of Bullhead City, Arizona, and countless more family and friends.

At a later date, the family of Bob Zaleski, will have a private celebration of life, followed by the spreading of his ashes ceremony.

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