Adella B. Zatroch
Birth Date: July 24, 1920
Death Date: February 27, 2017
Adella “Del” Blanche Zatroch (nÃ©e Durisek), 96, peacefully died in her sleep on February 27, 2017, at her son John’s home in Miami, Florida. She was born on July 24, 1920 in Okarche, Oklahoma to Andrew Durisek and Mary Bodnar.
Del grew up in the coal mining town of Daisytown, PA, and later in Cleveland, Ohio, and was a classical ballet student of Serge Nadejdin at the Imperial Ballet School in Cleveland. Ballet was Del’s first love. She graduated from James Ford Rhodes High School in Cleveland in 1938. After high school, she graduated from Spencerian Business College in Cleveland in 1940 where she received her 2 year business degree. She was a secretary at the Secretary of State’s office in Columbus, Ohio, during WW II. Also, during the war, while working for U.S. Army Ordnance, she danced in “All Out For Victory”, a patriotic musical revue that had 9 acts and a cast of 75 that toured many factories to entertain and boost morale and promote War Bonds. Del married John Zatroch at the Victorville Army Airfield in California on September 19, 1942. They were happily married for 70 years.
In 1961, she began working for NASA Lewis (Glenn) Research Center in Cleveland, as an administrative assistant and executive secretary for 46 years and received numerous awards. She was on the NASA Speaker’s Bureau, traveling with a baseball-sized moon rock to different states. Taking the priceless moon rock on the plane was both interesting and humorous. During check-in at the airport, she was always asked to “open the box.” To the untrained eye, it appeared to be just any ordinary rock. Security would ask “what’s that,” to which she would casually respond, “Oh, it’s a moon rock!” They would usually roll their eyes and say, “yeah, sure, lady.” Then, she would show them her NASA badge, and documents– end of discussion! She was required to have the moon rock with her at all times during the flight, including trips to the rest room!
In 1982, at age 62, Del earned her AA degree at Cuyahoga Community College. At age 71, she earned her Bachelor Degree in Rhetoric and Communication from Kent State University. At age 86, she authored a book on the Oral History of NASA Lewis (Glenn) Research Center. The book was based on dozens of interviews she had conducted with many NASA luminaries, including 100 year-old Frederick C. Crawford. A copy of the book was included in the time capsule at Glenn Research Center, which will be opened in 2041. Another copy went to the Library of Congress. She retired at age 87 from NASA.
Del was a Girl Scout leader and led the first coed Boy/Girl Scout canoe trip to the Minnesota/Canada border. She was a member of the Cleveland Federation of Business and Professional Women (BPW) and was a lifelong member of the Order of the Eastern Star West Park Chapter #427, where she was a member of the choir, Worthy Matron, and a Grand Representative for the State of Oregon. She enjoyed her family and their successes, her Slovak heritage, and being a long-time member of Faith Lutheran Church in Lakewood, Ohio where she was also in the choir and lay reader.
Adella was so loved by all her family and is survived by her children, Sheila Connelly, John Jr. (Rosa), Don (Shirley), and Delene St. Clair (Barry Cahill); her grandchildren Andrew, Beth, John Anthony, Charlene, Jonathan, Sarah, and Charles; her great-grandchildren Aidian, Ethan, Quinn, Tristan, Claire, Audrey, and Caleb; and her nieces and nephews.
Adella was preceded in death by her husband John Zatroch, her parents Andrew and Mary Durisek, and her sister, Emilia.
Visitation for family and friends will be on Saturday, March 25, 2017 from 11AM until 1PM with Funeral Services commencing at 1PM in the Sunset Chapel at Sunset Memorial Park, 6245 Columbia Rd. North Olmsted, Ohio 44070. Refreshments will be served immediately following the service.
In lieu of flowers, the family kindly requests memorial donations for Adella B. Zatroch be made to Alzheimer’s Association, www.alz.org or mail donations to: Alzheimer’s Association National Office, 225 N. Michigan Ave., Fl. 17, Chicago, IL 60601.