SALEM- Karl Bruce Zellers passed away Saturday (January 12, 2013) the day after what would have been his 70th wedding anniversary with the love of his life, Lois Ann (Dewalt) Zellers, who passed less than two years before him.
He was born in Columbiana, Ohio, on April 10, 1923, to Albert Fulton and Beulah Virginia (McIlvaine) Zellers. He was the youngest of six children and the fifth boy. Karl excelled in studies and sports. He helped lead the Columbiana High School basketball team to three consecutive tri-county tournament victories two of which he shared with his future brother-in-law, Dr. Bill Dewalt, Jr.. Karl and Lois Ann were high school sweethearts and married on January 11, 1943 just days before he left for nearly three years of military service.
When the United States entered World War II, he served in the 481st Coast Guard Artillery. This took him to Scotland, Wales, England, France, Luxembourg and Germany where he was stationed when the war ended. Upon returning from war, Karl reunited with Lois Ann at Mount Union College (now University of Mount Union), where he majored in history and lettered in football and basketball all four years.
Karl had the honor of scoring the first touchdown for Mount Union at their first game after the war. It was the college's 100th year and at 7-1-1 it was Mount's best season to that point. Another highlight for his young bride was to watch him score the winning touchdown at their homecoming game their senior year. Karl Zellers was a member of the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity. He received his master's from Kent State University in 1950.
Karl went on to teach and coach at Berlin Center, then Louisville, Ohio, and then at Salem High School. At Salem, he coached track, football, basketball and started the cross country program at the high school. He helped coached the state runner-up basketball team of 1959. In the fall of 1967, Karl went to Kent State University's Salem branch as athletic director. Karl taught at all KSU regional campuses including Salem, East Liverpool, Tuscarawas, Trumbull and Stark. He ended his teaching career with 43 and a half years of service in Ohio Public Schools. Kent State University honored him with Professor Emeritus status.
Karl was always clever, a great reader and an even better joke-teller. Up until a month before his passing, Karl swam 60 laps three times a week at the Salem Community Center and then enjoyed a bowl of oats at Heggy's with his friends.
Karl was a devoted husband and father who left behind an incomparable legacy of love, tradition and an unparalleled dry sense of humor. He joins his parents, all of his siblings, his in-laws (Dr. and Mrs. C.W. Dewalt) and his bride. Alongside many nieces and nephews, he leaves behind his children Deborah Ann (Dr. Umberto) Meduri, K. Bruce (Christine) Zellers, Chesney Dewalt (Atty. John) Gulas and Kirk Dewalt (Laura) Zellers; grandchildren Dr. Christopher (Audra) Meduri, Michelle (Paul) Reuer, Angela Meduri, Zoe Zellers, Zak Zellers, Chesney A. Gulas, Madeleine Gulas, Kirk Zellers Jr., Kyle Zellers and Karlie Zellers; great grandchildren Sofia Reuer, Angelie Zellers Reuer, Simone Reuer, Sebastian Meduri and Penelope Meduri all of whom were able to celebrate his last Christmas by his side a magical holiday for the Zellers family made so by Karl and Lois Ann. We are all so proud to be his and could not have asked for a more amazing father, father-in-law, grandfather and great grandfather. You will be forever remembered, missed and cherished, "General."
Anyone who knew Karl Zellers knew that he loved sports. Recently Karl reflected, "I think I most enjoyed watching a good track meet, I enjoyed playing football more and I probably enjoyed the coaching in basketball the most."
In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the Reilly Stadium Wall Project c/o The Salem Preservation Society, P.O. Box 1034, Salem, Ohio 44460 (salempreservationsociety.org) -or- The First Presbyterian Church of Salem 436 E. 2nd St., Salem, Ohio 44460.
Calling hours will be Monday, January 14 from 4-7 p.m. at the Stark Memorial Funeral Home, 1014 E. State St. in Salem. The funeral will be held Tuesday, January 15 at 10 a.m. at the Salem First Presbyterian Church. He will be buried with full military honors at Columbiana Cemetery.
This obituary may be viewed and condolences sent to the family online at www.starkmemorial.com.