Cover photo for Jan George Zapchenk's Obituary
Jan George Zapchenk Profile Photo

Jan George Zapchenk

December 17, 1937 — December 22, 2023

Jan George Zapchenk

Jan George Zapchenk, 86, of Tampa, Florida, formerly of Peotone, IL, passed away on December 22, 2023. Born on December 17, 1937, in Harvey, Illinois, Jan graduated from Thornton Township High School in 1955 and later from the University of Evansville, where he was a football star.


Jan married Susan Crouch on June 11, 1960, in Evansville, Indiana. Returning to the Chicago area, he dedicated nearly five decades to coaching baseball, football, and golf, as well as teaching driver’s education at Thornton High School. A proud moment in his career was leading the Wildcats to the Illinois High School Association final four in 1974. Even into his late 70s, Jan continued part-time teaching of drivers ed, endearing himself to generations of students with his jokes and occasional detours to Dairy Queen.


Passionate about music, Jan celebrated a wide range of genres and artists, reflecting his zest for life. He also had a deep appreciation for nature and gardening and could name hundreds of trees, plants, and birds.


Jan loved road trips to Colorado, Texas, and Florida to visit his daughters and grandchildren, always taking the off-the-beaten-path “scenic route” where he could discover hidden gems. His second home was Evansville, where he spent many holidays and weekends visiting Susan’s family.


Always a competitor, Jan bowled a perfect 300 game to join the 300 Club. When he was nearly 80, he went zip lining and hiked to the top of a 14,000-foot mountain. He also beat anyone who was brave enough to play him at corn hole or shuffleboard. He spent countless hours watching sports on TV, especially his beloved Chicago Cubs. 


Jan was a devoted family man, known for his kindness, gentle nature, and unique sense of humor. He loved telling a good joke and had a way of making people feel safe and welcome. His extensive collection of baseball caps, T-shirts, and socks became iconic conversation starters, reflecting his warm and welcoming spirit.


Jan is survived by his daughters, Tracy (Michael) Broderick, Elizabeth “Betsy” Tanner, and Mary, and his grandchildren, Brendan and Erin Broderick and Marty and Nicole Tanner.  He was preceded in death by his wife Susan who died in 2006, his parents, John and Joanne “Betty” (Zeleznick) Zapchenk, and his sister, Georgia (Roy) Sowers.


A funeral mass will be celebrated at 11:00am on Saturday, April 20th, 2024, at Infant Jesus of Prague Catholic Church (St. Veronica Parish), 1131 Douglas Ave, Flossmoor, IL 60422. 

To send flowers to the family in memory of Jan George Zapchenk, please visit our flower store.

Past Services

Memorial Funeral Mass

Saturday, April 20, 2024

Starts at 11:00 am (Central time)

Infant Jesus of Prague Catholic Church (St. Veronica Parish)

1131 Douglas Ave., Flossmoor, IL 60422

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