Gary Jon Zumach was born June 14th, 1938, in Algona, IA, to Alvin and Gertrude (Theesfield) Zumach. Having been raised in Fenton, IA, he was baptized and confirmed in the Lutheran Church. In 1957, he graduated from Fenton High School, then attended Rail Road School in Minneapolis, MN. From there, Gary went into the Army. During this time, he was stationed in Livorno, Italy, and he later worked at the Embassy Post Office in Rome. On June 8th, 1963, he married Janet Tjaden. They were blessed with 2 daughters: Julie and Katie. To Gary, everyone was a friend and he always had a joke to share.
Gary was a jack of all trades! He attended beauty school and later operated a salon in Wall Lake, IA. He then worked for Jan’s father at Tjaden Oil Company in Lake View, delivering gas. His next endeavor was partnering with his father in Zumach Sales, selling organs, sewing machines, and vacuum cleaners. Gary learned salesmanship strategies from Alvin and they grew a reputable repair business in Lake View and Storm Lake.
Gary loved animals from little on. At the age of five he ordered an alligator through the mail, which was later eaten by his pet white rat when he needed a place to keep the alligator. His greatest adventure and lifelong dream was purchasing Warbonnet Zoo in Hazelhurst, WI in 1990. Gary, Jan, and family spent 14 years caring for the animals and sharing them with the public. They raised lions, tigers and bears, plus many other exotic animals! Gary’s favorite was Anna Banana, a Hamadryas baboon.
Gary enjoyed several hobbies: fishing, leather crafting, making fishing lures, and jewelry. In his younger years, Gary loved to bow hunt which led to making arrows and establishing a bow hunting club. He loved to hunt pheasants, jack rabbits, cottontails, and coyotes with his dogs. He also was the founder of the Iowa Coursing Association, a type of lure racing for sighthounds, in the 1970’s. 40 years later, he returned to this hobby, racing his beloved whippet, Kipp.
Gary is survived by his wife of 54 years, Janet of Lake View, IA; his 2 daughters: Julie DenHerder (Steve) of Adel, IA, and Katie Hoffer (Josh) of Sheboygan Falls, WI; his 6 grandchildren: Elizabeth DenHerder(18), Hannah DenHerder(18), John DenHerder(18), Sarah DenHerder(13), Gabe Hoffer(13), and Ainsley Hoffer(7); brothers and sisters-in-law: Shirlee Ashbaugh of Rockwell City, Don and Donna Tjaden of Iowa City, IA, Bob and Judy Stehr of Ames, IA; many nieces, nephews, family and friends.
Gary was preceded in death by his parents, Alvin and Gertrude Zumach; parents-in-law Harold and Florence Tjaden; and brother-in-law Gene Ashbaugh.