Father Donald W. Zenk, 90

Published 10:30 am Thursday, September 15, 2016

Father Donald W. Zenk, 90

Father Donald W. Zenk, 90

Father Donald W. Zenk, 90, of Austin, Minnesota, passed away peacefully, at the Sacred Heart Care Center in Austin, on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016, after a short battle with cancer.

Donald William Zenk was born on Oct. 4, 1925, son of William and Zita (Tibesar) Zenk in Winona, Minnesota.

He grew up on the family farm in rural Winona, attended country schools and graduated from Winona High School. After high school, he stayed on the farm for a year before joining the Army, where he spent two years stationed at Fort Hood in Texas and Fort Ord in California. While at Fort Ord, he began his studies toward the priesthood with the Chaplain, Fr. Bolla, who spent time with him studying Latin. After his service in the Army, he enrolled in Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa. During summer breaks, he drove a Pepsi Cola truck, delivering in small towns throughout western Wisconsin.

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He completed his studies for the priesthood at St. Paul Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota and was ordained on June 6, 1954 at the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Winona, as part of the largest class ever ordained in the Winona diocese. Father Zenk served many parishes in southern Minnesota, always ready to serve wherever he was assigned by the Bishop.

Father Zenk’s shining hour was when Bishop Fitzgerald contacted him about starting an additional parish in Rochester, to serve the growing population there, founding The Church of the Resurrection in April 1967. While the first masses were held in an airport hangar, on Dec. 24, 1968, midnight mass was the first mass held in the new parish center. The “Resurrection” was complete.

Father had a variety of interests, but his reputation as the beekeeper was well established, a hobby he stayed with well into his golden years. He was a happy man, thoroughly enjoying his years as a priest. He has many long and happy friendships, caring deeply for his family and his parish families from all the cities he served.

Fr. Zenk was preceded in death by his parents; brother, Gerald Zenk; sister-in-law, Catherine Zenk.

He is survived by five nieces and one nephew; Mary (Lynn) McHugh, Murdock, Nebraska; Christine (Eric) Rix, Omaha, Nebraska; Dr. David (Cindy) Zenk, Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Margaret (Jonathon) Baldwin, Alexandria, Virginia; Jan (Tom) Sammons, Omaha, Nebraska; and Rebecca Adams, Omaha, Nebraska, many grand-nieces and nephews. He is also survived by foster sister, Marie Weber, Rochester, Minnesota.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 17, 2016, at St. Edward’s Catholic Church in Austin, with Bishop John Quinn officiating. Interment will be at St. Mary’s Cemetery in Winona at 3:30 p.m. Saturday. Visitation will be held at Mayer Funeral Home on Friday where there will be a Knights of Columbus Rosary at 6:30 p.m. and friends and family may call from 7 to 8:30 p.m. There will also be visitation one hour before the Mass at St. Edward’s Church on Saturday. Military rites will be by American Legion Post No. 91 and the Knights of Columbus Council 1201 will be present.

Mayer Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements. Condolences may be left online at www.mayerfh.com.