Joseph C. Zak

Joseph C. Zak, formerly of Hemingford, Neb. and Fairplay, Colo., passed away Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018 at his home in Mesa, Ariz. He was 87 years old and had been in declining health for a short time.

Joe was born to Joe and Bessie Zak on Oct. 27, 1931, in Omaha, Neb. He is survived by his four daughters, Chris Zak of Jefferson, Colo., Tracy (Monte) Downare of Hartsel, Colo., Cindy Zak of Gilbert, Ariz., Jody (Chris) Young of Evans, Colo.; and his brothers Jim Zak of Glendale, Ariz., and Alvin (Char) Zak of Tucson, Ariz. He is also survived by 13 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews. He is preceded in death by his parents, Joe and Bessie Zak; wife, Twyla Zak; and sister, Beverly Carrell.

Joe attended Hemingford High School and Chadron State College, Neb. After college, Joe enlisted in the Navy from 1951 to 1955. Joe was on an aircraft carrier and was a Naval aviation electronics technician, petty officer third class.

After serving our country, Joe met the love of his life, Twyla Jo Lawson. They married on May 29, 1959.

While living in Hemingford, Joe operated a Mobil Oil service station in Hemingford before moving to Fairplay, Colo., in 1964, where he and his wife Twyla ran owned and operated Zak’s Auto Garage and Towing for many years. In 1998 he and Twyla moved to Mesa, Ariz., to enjoy retirement.

Joe was an active member of the Fairplay community, being involved as Director of the Bank of Fairplay, Park Investors, Town Council member, baseball coach for the Fairplay Men’s League, life member of the VFW, American Legion and Odd Fellows. He was also deputy marshal for the Town of Fairplay, and refereed for South Park High School.

Joe was an avid hunter, fisherman and guide, and loved living in the mountains and listening to polkas.

A Celebration of Life will be held in Hemingford, Neb., later this summer. In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting memorials be made to the Boys & Girls Clubs of the East Valley; visit, or mail to 2602 W. Baseline Road #26, Mesa AZ 85202.