Tony Zona, a former resident of Steger, Illinois for some 70 years, now resides at Residences at Deer Creek Senior Living in Schererville, Indiana, where he just celebrated his 100th birthday!
Tony’s life is measured by many milestones, wonderful stories and a dedicated family. Tony and his sweetheart wife Kathleen (nee Wetzel) married in 1942. Until her passing in 2018 they had spent nearly 76 years together. Together they raised their three sons, Anthony (Tony), Jr., Terry, and Timothy. He is revered as a devoted husband and father. Not only does his beautiful family boast eight grandchildren, but four great-grands as well!
Up until about two years prior Tony had been living in his Steger home, but family thought it best for him to have additional support. Two sons living in the Dyer area chose Residences at Deer Creek to have him closer and for more peace of mind, knowing he would be in a safer environment. Tony’s transition occurred just about at the time of the pandemic, but his resiliency carried him through!
Resiliency is what carried Tony through World War II. Tony entered the Armed Forces in October of 1942 and remained until December 25, 1945. He was a US Army Staff Sargent, Infantryman 96th DeadEye Division. He saw combat in the Philippines, and was wounded in Okinawa. Tony is well-decorated and his awards include: The Purple Heart, the American Campaign Medal, Asiatic Pacific Medal, Bronze Service Star, Philippines Liberation Ribbon with Two Bronze Stars, Good Conduct Medal, WWII Victory Medal. Tony was proud to be involved with The Purple Heart Organization of South Chicago Heights when it was in operation.
Life after the War also took resiliency as Tony became an entrepreneur, founding Zona Corporation in Steger, where he served as owner and President for over 40 years. Zona Corporation specialized in underground sewer construction. Tony would probably be humble enough to say he lived a fairly typical life as those years, and would not think he was renowned. But his family recalls how he was famous for his one-liners and how, at age 100, he can still pull them out at just the right time!
Tony was also famous with the neighborhood kids who called him “Cigar”, which goes without explanation! His family thinks of him as a kind and gentle man, always so grateful for anything someone does for him, and how he never expects anything from anyone. He attended St. Laborius Catholic Church in Steger for all his years in that community.
Now, in our community at Residences at Deer Creek, we are honored to be a part of Tony’s life and to serve him, for all he has done throughout his life of service. Along with Tony’s family and the words of the birthday song, we wish you—“Many More Birthdays, Dear Tony—Many More Birthdays to You!”