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John "Pepper" C. Zelanko

September 26, 1922 ~ August 14, 2019 (age 96)


John C. “Pepper” Zelanko, 96, of Kearney; passed away peacefully on Wednesday, August 14, 2019 at home surrounded by his loving family.  He was born on September 26, 1922 in Kearney, Pennsylvania; a son of the late John and Katherine (Zelanko) Zimmerman.  In Cumberland, Maryland on July 3, 1948 he was united in marriage to Bessie "Betty" M. (Griffith) Zelanko.  She preceded him in death on December 19, 2009.  

He is survived by children Darrell Zelanko and companion Sheila; Mary-Kay Clark, Gregory Zelanko married to Jody, Michele married to Patrick Diehl.  John and Betty were blessed with six grandchildren Alicia Zelanko, Joshua Zelanko, Andrew Diehl, Lacy (Clark) Ruhlman, Matthew Zelanko, Shannon Zelanko; eleven great grandchildren Shyann Zelanko, Abigail Zelanko ,Chloe Zelanko, Lacie Zelanko, Madilyn Ruhlman , Archer Zelanko, , Noah Zelanko, Karma Zelanko, Parker Ruhlman, Josalinn Zelanko, and Cooper Ruhlman; siblings Earl Fetters, Harold Weaverling and Madeline Snyder.

John was preceded in death by siblings Darrell and Louise.

Mr. Zelanko was a veteran of the US Army and bravely served his country during World War II as an engineer with the 653rd Topographic Engineer Battalion.  After his service John spent many years working in the coal mining industry.  He also worked with the US Army Corp of Engineers in the building of the Raystown Dam as well as the construction of several turnpike tunnels.

John was an avid fisherman and loved to spend time with his family by the river or lake.  He was a devoted member of the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Dudley.  His faith in God was steadfast and inspirational to his family.

As a husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather John will always be remembered as the best of men.  His love for his family and God were the defining attributes of his life and will always be cherished in our hearts.

Friends and Family will be received Sunday, August 18, 2019 from 6:00-8:00 P.M. at Akers Funeral Chapel, 715 Church Street, Saxton, PA.

Funeral Mass will be held Monday, August 19, 2019 at 11:00 A.M. at the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, Dudley with Father Marino officiating. 

Burial will be held privately at Ave Maria Catholic Cemetery.

If friends so desire memorial contributions may be made in memory of John to the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, PO Box 188, Dudley, PA  16634.



To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of John "Pepper" C. Zelanko, please visit our floral store.


August 18, 2019

6:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Akers Funeral Chapel
715 Church Street
Saxton, PA 16678

Funeral Mass
August 19, 2019

11:00 AM
Immaculate Conception Catholic Church (Dudley)

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