Cover photo for Carl Zenker's Obituary
1923 Carl 2020

Carl Zenker

February 7, 1923 — August 28, 2020

WW II Vet "Zenk" "Daddy-Carl

" I have a baby brother!" 4-year old Cordella yelled as she ran down Logan/Bayard announcing Carl's birth, Feb. 7, 1923. Parents Charles & Bertha (Schroeder) Zenker + sister Ottilie also welcomed "Carlie" to the world. He became the light of their lives. Childhood was happy with family, church, school, kid-pals, a dog named Terry, streetcar trips with Grandma Johanna Z. Carl always worked. "Anything for a buck!" He delivered ice, his mother's bread, magazines; caddied, packed groceries for delivery. Summer farm jobs helped Carl get in shape for football. He said, "People were good to me." His W. 7th schools were Adams and Monroe + maybe one term at Macalester! It was the best of times at Monroe: class president, football captain, "Zenk" was a strong, tough QB, in his glory. He once ran 100 yds for a TD. Carl loved all things football. And, he loved high school sweetheart Marjorie Wade. They had great memories of great fun. At 19, in 1942, Carl became a US Marine (441403) spending 3 yrs in the S.Pacific as a demolition expert. "I blew things up." He never talked much of the war, except "It was the real deal/not good." Favorite plane, the P-38, "was so pretty." He saved an elderly Japanese couple from being shot, took a lost little girl to her home, and briefly brought a horse to camp. In 1945 Carl went to DC to meet Marjorie, also a Marine. Carl proposed; the 2 vets returned to MN, proud to have served but eager to move on .They married on Sept. 14,1946 at St. Peter's Luth. Church where they first met. Life was good. Paula was born; Carl sang "Daddy's Little Girl." Tim was born; Carl called him "Buddy." Carl was an excellent father: decent, kind, fun. His very blue eyes twinkled. Work, school, church, gardens, picnics, swimming, piano lessons, coaching softball, family parties were in the mix. Family vacations were must-do: nat'l and state parks, Circle Tours of Superior. Carl remained strong. He stiffly held out his arm nephews/nieces hanging on were lifted into the air. Uncle Carl's arm was (hear the music) "The Iron Bar." Hard worker Carl's jobs were painting, a hated RR office job, delivering milk, and finally the US mail. Always wanting to be a fireman, Carl was very strong. but was not 5'9". Not a slacker, PT jobs were pumping gas, office cleaning, peddling cucumbers, ushering at a drive-in theatre, working "at the paper"(Dispatch mail room), wedding photos with Roy D. Good-natured Carl enjoyed his P 0 job. He was outside, in shape, chatted with patrons. Carl was thrilled by a plaque for 70+ years from NALC; he took pride in his 1970 P 0 strike activism, smiling at UNDELIVERED (book) recalling picketing. In 1972, Carl and Marjorie bought land in WI, built a house of wood, embraced nature fully with gardens, flowers, berries, walking the woods, dogs. Carl's family planted 3500 DNR pine seedlings. The "estate" became "PineHill." Carl did not hunt. He was enthralled just sitting, watching the deer with awe-- too beautiful to kill. Also a dog whisperer, he loved Terry, Taffy, Muffin, Joey, Scamper. Once neighbor dog, Buster, was drowning in PineHill's spring; Buster lived to bark another day because Carl did CPR sort of. Carl loved flowers, piano music (Paula should've played more), turkey necks, Lena Home, cribbage, solitaire, Vikings games with Dick, Hershey almond bars, "Wheel." Carl's favorite color was blue. Carl and Paula read the same mysteries; Carl dog-eared at the top, Paula the bottom. Crosswords were a favorite. Pre-hearing aids, Carl yelled, "WHAT'S A FOUR-LETTER WORD FOR EXOTIC CHEESE?" Paula: "BRIE." Carl: "NO, FOUR." Carl was handy-building, repairing, refinishing antiques. "You can always tell a German, but you can't tell him much .•.• Carl loved this. He was a sweet man but stubborn. can you say, "German, Lutheran, Marine Corps, football player?" Carl was quick-witted. Once, ornery with a care-person who said, "Carl, speak kindly to me." He said, "Kindly move your foot." In addition to humor, Carl was a person of honesty, integrity, generosity. He could not understand cheating, or senseless shootings. Politically liberal, Carl believed everyone should vote; he'd fought for this and said, "Home at the free, because of the brave." Marjorie and Paula helped Carl, disabusing him of sexist Ideas. He was educable. Carl's guiding principles included responsibility. He took the USMC code of SEMPER FI seriously, caring for his entire family. He called lots of people "Honey" and always said to Paula, "You be careful on the basement steps, Honey," recalling Juliann. Carl had a good heart but said it had been broken by hard losses: parents, wife/friend Marjorie, beloved son Tim. He also lost Audrey, often saying, "Audrey was my friend. n Always an early-morning person, Carl died at 5 AM on August 28 at Our Lady of Peace Hospice. Gratitude to all who recently cared tor Carl, to docs/dentist: Lagus, Sneed, Ostlund + their hired help, to the pharmacy folks; and to all who visited Carl, especially Good Nurse John; Stephen, Jean, Glenn S made many trips to PineHill. Wheel chair rides by Charley and Christel's kohlrabi work made Carl happy. Diana, Gloria, ABES3 brought flowers, goodies, help. Carl was appreciative-Paula, too. 4-leggeds always brought joy. Thanks, Gilly. Huge thanks to all at Carl's 97th party! He loved it! Carl wanted to be buried from St. Peters, where he was baptized, confirmed, married. + went to German services with charter member Johanna. Carl's wishes could not be honored due to the virus. Interment-Elmhurst Cem. Carl is survived by Paula, brothers-in-law. Dick Wade and Jim Schoenberger. nieces. nephews, friends. Recently Carl sang "Ja. Ja, wiesst nicht wie gut ich dir bin,· but Paula did know! She writes, "Heartbroken ... incredible honor to have had Carl as dad and good friend. Daddy-Carl was the best. To quote Carl's words back to him 'Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. A thousand times, thank you:- No gifts expected but 2 good causes Carl liked are 1) Volunteers of America, 952-945-4000, 2) Marjorie Wade Zenker Scholarship, St. Catherine Univ, 651-6906000. Or, just do a toast to Carl.

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