John was a positive, ambitious, hard working and caring husband, father, friend and leader who had a true zest for life. He was a proud man with a great sense of humor and a tremendous amount of integrity. He was well respected by all those that had the opportunity to know him both personally and professionally. He was a self-made man with a strong belief in hard work and a positive mindset. His favorite saying was “do the best with what you have.” A motto he not only lived by but inspired in others who were lucky enough to know him.
John was born in Passaic, NJ on February 26, 1942, a son of the late Marie and John Zalarick. He was the third youngest of 8 brothers and sisters. His father passed away at an early age leaving his mom to raise the family. His mom moved the family to East Rutherford, NJ, where she worked three jobs to support their family. John would share stories about how his dad would take him along to fish off the Jersey shore and hunt small game in the marshes of the meadowlands, which later became home to MetLife Stadium.
He worked with his brother, Russell who he was very close with and helped John land a job during and after high school loading trucks where he earn money for college. He was the first in his family to be attend college. He was accepted into New York University to pursue a degree in accounting and later transferred to Pace University where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Marketing Communications. He would later be appointed to Pace University’s Honorary Alumni Board - a designation he was extremely proud of.
During the Vietnam war, he served as a medic in the national guard helping wounded soldiers returning from battle.
He grew up playing baseball and was a standout short stop for his hometown team. During one season his team made it to the quarter finals of the Little League Championship. He later went on to play division II baseball for Pace University.
He met his future wife at Manasquan Beach, NJ where they later met up at the Osprey. It was love at first sight. A few years later, they got married on July 20, 1969, the day man landed and walked on the moon. Sure to always be a most memorable day! They moved to Upper Montclair, NJ where they raised their two sons, John and Jason and remained happily married for 51 years.
After graduating college, John served as the spokesperson and PR Director for Hackensack Hospital before joining Garden State National Bank where he quickly rose up the ranks to SVP, Marketing. As one of the youngest SVPs of marketing for a banking institution at the time, he worked under the direction of Charles Agemian, former Executive Vice President of Operations at Chase Manhattan Bank. Mr Agemian was a major influence in his life who he regarded as a second father.
He later went on to serve as the head of Marketing for The Record Newspaper, leading their twenty person in-house marketing department, which was accredited for the development of the newspaper’s popular ad campaign “We Cover Your World, All of it.”
After leaving The Record Newspaper, John founded a PR and marketing firm which he named after his wife Youngworth Communications Inc. His son, John later joined the company where they worked together for a number of years until his retirement. Their clients included Kearny Bank, Paragon Federal Credit Union and New England Financial.
During his free time, he loved playing tennis, and swimming at Bradford Bath & Tennis Club, traveling the world, vacationing in St. Martin, watching old James Bond movies and Villanova basketball games with his two sons who both graduated from Villanova Business School. His fondness for a good glass of wine led him to taking a sommelier class. He was an active member of the New Jersey Press Club. John also had a real love for real estate and would spend his free time seeking and managing investment properties.
He enjoyed being near the water and a beach. He loved nature and watching the sunrise at a condo they acquired as an investment property overlooking Sea Bright, NJ and later took over as a their home.
John, 78, passed away on Feb 10, 2021 from complications due to late stage ALZ. He was comforted by his loving family and friends.
He will be remembered as a devoted husband, father and grandfather.
John is survived by his wife of 51 years, Gale and their two sons and daughters-in-law; Jack and his wife, Jennifer of Long Island, NY and Jason and his wife Marisa of Whitehouse Station, NJ. He also leaves behind two sisters, Patricia, Evelyn and two brothers, Edward and Robert as well as 4 grandsons; Danny, Liam, Jason Philip and Ryder. John was predeceased by his sisters Sophie and Dorothy and his brother, Russell.
A Celebration of Life will be held sometime during the summer.
Friends and family may pay their respect by sharing a memory or two on his memorial board. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Alzheimer's Association at https://act.alz.org/donateor a donation of a tree in his memory.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of John Zalarick, please visit our floral store.