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Joseph ‘Joe’ Simon Zelasko

Joseph “Joe” Simon Zelasko died at home on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. He was 80 years old.

Born and raised in Chicago, he graduated from the University of Notre Dame and received his Ph.D. in civil engineering from Northwestern University. He moved to Vicksburg to work at Waterways Experiment Station with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, where his career spanned nearly 50 years.

Joe met his wife, Philomena, on a blind date in Vicksburg. They married in 1976 and celebrated their 44th wedding anniversary in September.

He was active in the Cursillo Movement of the Catholic Diocese of Jackson, Knights of Columbus Council 898, Boy Scout Troop 7 and CCD at St. Mary’s Catholic Church. He also served for decades as a dedicated servant in Catholic prison ministry at the Medium and Low Federal Correctional Institution in Yazoo City and the Mississippi State Penitentiary in Parchman.

Joe was preceded in death by his parents, Joseph F. and Genevieve A. “Polly” Zelasko of Chicago; and his sister, Sandra Wollek (John) of Phoenix, Ariz.

Survivors include his beloved wife Philomena of Vicksburg; daughter, Theresa M. Zelasko of Austin, Texas; sons Joseph M. Zelasko (Elizabeth) of Loveland, Colo., John F. Zelasko (Ashley) of Little Rock, Ark., and Peter J. Zelasko (Kathleen) of Gallup, N.M.; and five grandchildren, Philomena, John, Evangeline, James and Mary Katherine.

Visitation will be Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020, from 3 to 5 p.m. at Fisher-Riles Funeral Home, 5000 Indiana Ave., in Vicksburg.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Monday, Nov. 2, 2020, at 11 a.m. inside the St. Mary’s Catholic Church Parish Center, 1512 Main Street, in Vicksburg. Interment will follow at Cedar Hill Cemetery.

Pallbearers will be Benny Terrell, Chris Slaughter, George Haynes, Charles Hahn, Darrell Haskins and Syd Johnston.

Memorial gifts may be made to Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN), 5817 Old Leeds Rd., Irondale, AL 35210; or the St. Mary’s Catholic Church Building Fund, 1512 Main Street, Vicksburg, MS 39183.