Obituary: John Albert Zalac
Surrounded by the family he adored, John peacefully spent his last minutes on December 5, 2011. Born Feb. 8, 1917 in Tooele, Utah, John and his family lived throughout the Western mining communities and eventually settled in Virginia City, NV where his Mother operated a boarding house for miners. John’s Storey Co. High School Class of 1936 was the last 4th Ward School graduating class. A good student, he also excelled in baseball and basketball. After graduating he went to work for the Sutro Tunnel Mining Co., and for a period of 6 years he was employed in mining. Two and a half years of that time was spent in the Army Enlisted Reserves mining at Consolidated Copper Co. in Kimberley, NV–to support the War effort, In 1942 he came on Active Duty and was assigned with the Counter Intelligence Corp. where he was perfecting Russian language capability. That same year John married Lydia Howard (from Carson City) in Paradise, NV. He was Honorably Discharged in Dec. 1945.
As his civilian life began, he and Ed Colletti partnered for many, many years in the operation of the Smokery Saloon (later named the Delta Saloon-Restaurant). Then John and Lydia bought the Bank of CA Bldg. with its Sazarac Saloon (later called the Ponderosa), and they developed the Sharon House Dinner Restaurant which they operated until their 1st retirement. At that time an opportunity arose to follow his dream and be a partner-owner of the Carson City’s Mills Park (then 9-hole) Golf Course. Here they worked until their 2nd retirement beckoned them with opportunities to enjoy their growing family and travel.
John was a voracious and knowledgeable history buff and collector of photographs and memorabilia depicting Nevada’s mining industry and illustrious past. John served the Virginia City community as a School Board Member and County Commissioner. One of his accomplishments was actively helping to rid the Comstock of its notorious Red Light District. John enjoyed being a 50+ year member of Virginia City’s Masonic Escurial Lodge No. 007. Plus he always had a soft spot in his heart for the 4th Ward School restoration. He even outlived a cadre of golf buddies who regularly played at regional courses.
Preceded in death by his wife, Lydia, in 1994, John is survived by four daughters–Jeanne Wangsness, Barbara Garrett, Gloria Greco and Mary Lydia Carel, their spouses, plus multitudes of grandchildren.
A funeral mass will be conducted at St. Mary’s in the Mts. in Virginia City on Friday, Dec. 9th at 11am, which will be followed by a Reception-Celebration of Life at the Virginia City Masonic Lodge. Friends interested in celebrating John’s incredibly full and rewarding life are invited to attend. A private Entombment with military honors will follow where John and Lydia will finally be reunited.
In lieu of flowers the family recommends donations to the Carson City chapter of Meals on Wheels and the 4th Ward School Foundation in Virginia City. Walton’s Chapel of the Valley, Carson City, is in charge of arrangements.