Tom “Hornet” Zielinski, 80, of South Bend, IN passed away at 12:15 a.m. Friday, October 11, 2019.
He was born on September 6, 1939 to the late John S., Sr. and Sadie C. (Coyne) Zielinski in South Bend, IN, and was a lifelong resident. Along with his parents; he was preceded in death by his three brothers, Harold, John, Jr., and Edward “Butch” Zielinski; and two sisters-in-law, Rita and Marge Zielinski.
Tom graduated in 1957 from Washington High School; and then served his country as a Navy Corpsman from 1957-1960 at San Diego Hospital. Tom graduated in 1962 from South Bend College of Commerce, where he met his future wife, Fran.
He retired in 2000 from Designs West of Elkhart, IN, where he was employed as a Controller for 7 ½ years. Prior to that, he worked as a Credit Manager at Bendix / Honeywell from 1962-1992.
On September 7, 1963, he married Fran Vascil at St. Pius X Catholic Church in Granger, IN.
Tom is survived by his loving wife of 56 years, Fran Zielinski of South Bend, IN; his two sons, Michael “Mike” Zielinski of Denver, NC; Kenneth “Kenny” Zielinski of South Bend, IN; and one grandson, Will Zielinski of Denver, NC.
Tom was a member of St. Casimir Parish, where he was very active in fundraising events. He also belonged to the St. Casimir Married Men’s Club and the former Breezer’s Club of South Bend, IN. Tom was a longtime manager of the Kaniewski Funeral Home Men’s Softball Team. Indications are that his 1984 team was the best to come out of the South Bend area. They finished second in the state of Indiana and advanced to the National Tournament in Dallas, TX. Tom was inducted into the Indiana Softball Hall of Fame in 2018.
Tom was well known and loved by his family and friends, who often referred to him as “Hornet”, “Tommy Green”, and “Big Thos”. He was a diehard Cubs and Notre Dame Fan. Tom welcomed everyone into his family, no matter the age or color of the person. He was a second dad to many.
Visitation will be from 4-8 p.m. Monday, October 14, 2019 at Kaniewski Funeral Home, 3545 N. Bendix Drive, South Bend, IN, where a Married Men’s Club/Parish Rosary will be prayed at 4:30 p.m.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:00 a.m. Tuesday, October 15, 2019 at St. Casimir Catholic Church in South Bend, IN, with Rev. Paul Ybarra, C.S.C. officiating. Entombment will follow in St. Joseph Cemetery.
Memorial contributions may be made to: Parkinson Research Foundation, 5969 Cattleridge Blvd., Suite 100, Sarasota, FL 34232 or the Married Men’s Club of St. Casimir Parish, 2505 W. Grace Street, South Bend, IN 46619.
To send online condolences, please visit www.kaniewski.com.