Age 59, of Scott Township, PA passed away on February 2, 2023 at home with his family lovingly by his side. John was born on November 21, 1963 to Joseph and Margaret (Lorraine) Zajicek of Carnegie, Pennsylvania. He grew up with his dear seven siblings James (Beth) Zajicek, Elaine (Late John Duran) Zajicek, the late Barbara Zajicek, Constance (Craig) Wood, Dale Zajicek, Dana (Kelly) Zajicek, and Jody (Kathleen) Zajicek on Cubbage Hill in Carnegie.
John knew his wife Monica (Yustak) in high school at Carlynton, and they started dating during College. They tied the knot on July 11, 1992 and have celebrated thirty beautiful years of marriage. Together they were given six gifts from God; Madison, Mitchell, Noah, Caleb, Elias, and Maclain Zajicek who John was a loving and adored father.
John is joining his parents Joseph and Lorraine Zajicek and sister Barbara in God’s Kingdom and will be survived by not only his six wonderful siblings, but his mother-in-law, Arleen Yustak, brother and sister-in-laws Melissa and Ken Hackman, Marla and Robert Malcolm, and Mandy and Graham Turnbull. He also leaves behind many loved nieces and nephews.
John lived with Cholangiocarcinoma for the last three years of his life. He never lost his faith with God as he battled the disease with the most amazing grace, bravery and strength. He lived everyday with positivity and determination not to let the disease keep him from doing things he loved and showing love towards other people.
Everyone who knew him knew that he was an extremely kind, loving and hardworking person who loved his family very much. He was the kind of man who if he entered a room, his smile would light it up and you knew everything would be okay. One conversation with John, and you were sucked into an instant friendship full of laughter and affirmation for life.
John was a real fixer upper, a man with gifted hands and a passion for carpentry. If it was broken, he would fix it. He was the jack of all trades and master of it all. God gave him this wonderful gift and he has made many people’s homes beautiful with it. Just don’t paint against the wood grain!
The simplest pleasures in life brought John great joy. You could find him on the swing with his music on a beautiful cool night, or cutting his grass every week in perfect symmetry. However, one of his biggest joys was when his whole family was home surrounded at the dinner table, or packed into the car on the way to church.
John was a man with strong moral principles, a man of full body, mind and integrity. He had forged a 59 year old trail of laughter, generosity, compassion and wisdom. He was more than a role model to his family and friends. He was a hero.
Arrangements have been entrusted to the SZAFRANSKI-EBERLEIN FUNERAL HOME, INC., 101 Third Street, Carnegie, where family and friends will be received on Monday, February 6, 2023 and Tuesday, February 7, 2023 from 2 pm – 7 pm. A Mass of Christian Burial will take place in St. Raphael the Archangel Parish, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church on Wednesday, February 8, 2023 at 10am. Burial will follow in St. Joseph Cemetery.
Hello everyone, My name is Madison Zajicek and for those that do not know, I am John’s oldest daughter. I want to start off by thanking you all for coming out today to celebrate my father’s beautiful life. Never did I think in my 29 years that I would be standing here reading my dads eulogy. Most of you know our dad had the gift of gab, chances are if you are sitting here, my dad’s ability to chat for hours has touched you in some way. If I could talk about our dad and how wonderful he is, let’s just say some of you would need to call off the rest of the year. You’re in luck though because I am only limited to 5 minutes, which ironically is just the way our dad would want it…short, sweet and to the point. To try to find the words to put someone we overwhelming love into a couple paragraph’s is the hardest thing I have ever had to do and I hope I do him justice by reading his eulogy today.
My dad was an exceptional carpenter, handyman, fixer upper, you name it and he could do it. He has spent decades using his skills and attention to detail to create beautiful rooms, homes, and businesses where people will create memories while admiring his work forever. Each time our dad went to a job, he returned having 5 new friends he met at home depot, an invitation to a wedding, someone’s keys to their vacation home, some trinkets, a strangers life story, and some authentic homemade food. However, although he has been showered in tangible gifts and treats on one of our many walks, I asked my dad if that is always what he wanted to be and he simply told me, I enjoy doing what I do, but in my heart I was always meant to be a dad and do the very best for my kids, now that is something I love doing. And boy ,did our dad exceed at that job. He was the kind of father that you might have been scared of, but also adored and respected beyond measure. He instilled in us a core value system that defined who HE was. He was a man who loved his family , valued God, kept promises, honored commitment, and was steadfast in integrity and relationships. Whenever we stumbled, he would always be there to catch us and build us back up. I think I can speak for all my siblings in saying that how lucky are we that we were able to have a dad who not only gave everything to us and supported us, but supported and loved his siblings, mother in law, sibling in laws ,nieces and nephews and even friends as well. Though our dad would never admit it, his love and admiration for his siblings ran deep and he and they have set an example for my siblings and I that will be with us for the rest of our lives. Our dad loves his sister in laws very much, but he always had a soft spot for his brother in laws .He cherished these relationships as if they were his own flesh and blood from uncle kens gentle conversations to hearing uncle bobs multiple accounts of near death experiences or consistent losing streaks to outings with uncle graham or uncle craig exploring the food realm and talking about life. All of you may not have realized it, but in our dads last couple of years battling cancer, you have all provided him with the familial comfort he so craved and that is something that can never be taken away.
When I started thinking about writing this, I was talking to my siblings about memories with our dad or what we loved most about him and although there were plenty of fond memories, we came to the consensus that we want to highlight some of his great qualities.
First and foremost was his love and commitment to our mother. Not just martial commitment, but commitment to making her happy. If it was important to her, it became important to him. They were happily married for 30 lovely years and during his last days, his only concern was for our mother. The love and tenderness with which our dad showed our mom was unwavering and something seared into each of our minds. It will be what we carry into our own marriages in the future.
One of our favorite things about our dad was his selflessness. He would give the shirt off his back to anyone who needed it, regardless if he’s known them for decades, or has just met them and he is probably turning over right now in spirit because he does not like all this attention. His acts of selflessness have led into another one of our most envied traits about our dad which is his remarkable ability to strike up a conversation with a stranger that could turn into a lifelong friendship. Our dad has always had this incredible gravitational force to him that people just could not stay away from, his personality was infectious, his spirit lively, his caring genuine. A 3-hour conversation with him felt like minutes and in that moment you knew you were sucked into an everlasting friendship. His ability to be in the present was righteous and he always made you feel like it was just you and him in the room. As funny and talkative as our dad was, he always prioritized listening more than talking over someone. Although, It did get to a point where it ended up taking quite awhile to walk with him sometimes or even go places because the whole neighborhood and city of Pittsburgh had to come out to greet him or run into him out and about. But in these moments, we realized that God was using our dad to make people’s lives just a little bit brighter even if it was just to comment on their lawn. He was a big man who never made anyone else feel small and for that we are so grateful to have had him as a dad for even this long.
Our dad was everything to us. He was our own big reward from God. The guy who made all of our friends and guests feel welcomed to the guy who was our number one fan. Our dad always said he was so proud of us, but what he doesn’t know is that we are SO proud of him. We have and continue to be proud to have been given such an example as a gift.And when I look at each of us, I see my dad in every one of us from Mitchells strength, to Noah’s wisdom and financial prowess, to Caleb’s humor , Elias’ determination, maclain’s spirit, and me who my mom told me I have a little bit of it all , minus the finances, sorry zach. We know our dad won’t be there when we get married or have kids, or grow old, but he promised us he would always be beside us and this we know is true. That Zajicek stubbornness will never fade.
Our dad always said to us that if those pearly gates are up there, then I am going to do whatever I can reach them and in the last couple hours of his life I asked him if he was scared to die and he told us no. In that moment through my grief, I sensed in him such a feeling of power, and in that moment, I knew that our dad through all those years of selflessness and love , was finally about to realize the true reward, not a financial, or material or professional reward, but the reward of a man who leaves this earth knowing he did his best consistently and persistently to make this world a better place for those around him.
There’s so much more I could say, but If my dad left us with anything, it is that time is precious. Go home and love your family and be that person that makes someone’s day. It could have an everlasting impact.