Nature 28

John J. Zielnicki

April 4, 1924 ~ October 11, 2021 (age 97)


John J. Zielnicki worked hard all his life, and for all the right reasons; to make life better for his wife, his family, and his community. His big heart and earnest appreciation of life created a foundation that continues to support the family he dearly loved. He was honest, straight forward and his handshake meant something.

John was born April 4th, 1924 to Polish immigrants in Benton, Illinois. In 1941, his father, a coal miner, died from black lung disease. To help provide for his mother and five sisters, John left home at seventeen to find work in Chicago. He began his journey in Chicago sorting shoes, but soon took the opportunity to work at Federal Tool as an apprentice and pursue a career as a tool and die maker. His practical business sense provided opportunities for advancement. John left Federal Tool with Chester Fanslow to start their own company, FanZal Tool and Die, in 1964. This partnership lasted about five years, until John sold his fifty percent interest to Chester. He then invested this money in CamFran Tool and Die Co., where he worked as a partner for many years.

A true love story for the ages, John was married to his beloved wife, Mary Louise Outland, for seventy one years. They fell in love early in life after meeting at a bowling alley in Chicago. They built a happy and productive life together. While they shared wonderful vacations in Poland, The Netherlands, Greece and across the U.S., John and Mary also found great joy in their activities around home. They loved spending as much time as possible with their grandchildren.

If you had a chance to visit John over the last couple of years, you would undoubtedly hear about his family. John and Mary have five children - Kathy, Bob, Mary, Steve, and Linda. John was able to show his children the country by taking many cross country family camping trips. John was very proud of his family’s educational and professional accomplishments. He would wear his Harvard cap (where his grandson David graduated) and tell anyone who would listen about his Julie Ann’s frozen custard shop. He enjoyed family parties where laughter and engaging conversation would always end in coffee and frozen custard.

A child of the Great Depression, John always understood the value of conserving. He kept a compost bin, was an avid gardener and believed in reusing everything, even cereal bags. He loved to work with his hands, building two of his family’s homes in Glenview, Illinois. He built several boats for the Crystal Lake Cardboard Regatta with his grandsons, capturing many sought-after cardboard trophies. John was so many things - a fisherman, pickle maker, baker, and
woodworker - but more importantly, he was a life-long learner. He was interested in everything and was a great listener. He didn't shy away from learning a new skill or starting a new business.

After his retirement, he founded Julie Ann’s Frozen Custard in 1985 from the sale of his beloved Whitewater lake house. After selling the Julie Ann’s property in 2006, John reopened a new Julie Ann’s location also in Crystal Lake at age 86 with his daughter Linda.

John and Mary were active members of the Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Crystal Lake. For years they enjoyed the Sunday breakfast club with fellow members.

John is survived by his beloved wife Mary, and their children Kathy (Blaise), Bob (Gene), Mary (the late Peter), Steve (Tammy), and Linda (Clarence); beloved grandfather of Julie (Eric), Evan (Eleni), Peter (Allison), Holly (Bill), John (Deirdra), Andy (Krysia), Eve (Jon), Kevin, David (Sophie), Carmen (Alex), Brian, Kimberly, and Grace, and great
grandfather of seventeen beloved great grandchildren.

Visitation will be Sunday, October 17, 2021 from 10:30 AM until the time of funeral service at 12:30 PM at Davenport Family Funeral Home and Crematory, 419 E. Terra Cotta Ave. (Rte. 176), Crystal Lake, IL 60014.

Burial will take place on Monday, October 18, 2021 at 11:30 AM at the chapel at Memory Gardens, 2501 E Euclid Ave, Arlington Heights, IL 60004.

To protect Mary Zielnicki and other guests, we ask visitors to wear masks.

To send flowers to John's family, please visit our floral store.


October 17, 2021

10:30 AM to 12:30 PM
Davenport Family Funeral Home and Crematory
419 E. Terra Cotta Ave.
Crystal Lake, IL 60014

Funeral Service
October 17, 2021

12:30 PM
Davenport Family Funeral Home and Crematory
419 E. Terra Cotta Ave.
Crystal Lake, IL 60014

October 18, 2021

11:30 AM
Memory Gardens Cemetery
2501 E Euclid Ave
Arlington Heights, IL 60004

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