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Thursday, Dec. 28, 2017 08:58 am

Dedicated volunteer

STAN ZIELINSKI Nov. 19. 2017 - Sept. 28, 2017

Stan Zielinski was a lifelong learner with many interests – soccer, the arts, cooking, family and the military to name just a few. He retired after a long career in marketing, sales and association management. In all aspects of his life, he was a dedicated volunteer committed to helping others. Friends, family, colleagues and acquaintances all remember Stan having a smile on his face.

Stan met Celeste Wiley, his wife of 36 years, at the YMCA, and after his retirement he spent most afternoons at the Y working out and hanging out with friends. Soccer was one of his many passions. He served on the YMCA Youth Soccer committee, officiated soccer tournaments and was instrumental in getting soccer into the Springfield school system many years ago. Stan also enjoyed the arts and visiting cultural institutions and was a member of museums and cultural organizations in Springfield and his hometown of St. Louis.

Cooking was another passion. He received a chef’s jacket as a gift from his son, in recognition of the zest Stan had for the kitchen. Friends appreciated his cooking at Thanksgiving and Easter and his many restaurant suggestions. Celeste appreciated his question each morning, “What do you want for supper?” as well as his “must-go soup,” which he made by picking out items in the fridge, typically vegetables, that “must go.”

Celeste and Stan shared a commitment to helping others. Celeste has worked as a nurse for over 35 years, and together they volunteered for the American Cancer Society Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walks.

Stan contributed significantly to the professional world of association management. He served in many capacities with the Illinois Manufacturers Association and Illinois Lumber and Materials Dealers Association. He retired from the Illinois Cast Metals Association as executive director. Stan was a longtime member of the Illinois Society of Association Executives (ISAE). Pam Tolson, who served as executive director of ISAE for 20 years says, “Stan was a colleague, mentor, leader, volunteer and friend. He was the first person to volunteer for a project when needed and the first to welcome members to the organization. He served in every ISAE volunteer leadership position, including the presidency in 2004. The world is a better place because of Stan, and he is truly missed.”

Having served in the Army National Guard from 1957 to 1963, Stan had a deep commitment to continue to serve his country. He did this by supporting and advocating for members of the National Guard and their families. He devoted many hours of volunteer service with the Illinois Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), an office of the Department of Defense. He received numerous awards in recognition of the many ways he supported members of the National Guard and Reserve Components (NG/RC) and their families.

Michael Ayers, chair emeritus of the IL ESGR Committee, says “Stan advocated for employers of military members and the military members themselves to ensure smooth transitions from work to active duty deployments and from those deployments back to their homes and jobs. He attended reintegration events to discuss guard members’ employment rights, employment opportunities and resources for family support. He helped introduce employers to life in the military. Stan was, and remains, a highly regarded and valuable contributor to the well being of the men and women of the NG/RC. Whenever the IL ESGR Committee put out a call for assistance in any form, Stan stepped forward to help. Stan was a great personal friend and colleague and amazing patriot and friend of the military.”

Celeste says one of Stan’s proudest moments was walking across the stage in May 2017 to receive his Bachelor of Arts diploma from University of Illinois Springfield. This was the culmination of more than 30 years of taking classes associated with his passion for lifelong learning. Michael Ayers speaks for many when he says of Stan, “I sorely miss his gentle style, passion for doing good, enthusiasm for and love of life and, for sure, his love for great food and his list of restaurant locations...seemingly everywhere on the planet.”

Stan is deeply missed by his many friends and colleagues, his three children and their spouses, 10 grandchildren, and loving wife, Celeste.

Karen Ackerman Witter, friend


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