February 18, 1939 – October 23, 2021
James Robert Ziska, 82, passed away on Saturday, October 23, 2021. He was born in Chicago, IL. to Henry James and Adeline Margaret (Holmeier) Ziska on February 18, 1939. A celebration of life was held on Saturday, October 30, 2021 at Whitney & Murphy Funeral Home in Phoenix, AZ.
Jim graduated from Crystal Lake High School. Following high school, he joined the Army and served for three years in Fort Lee, VA. He relocated to Phoenix, AZ. upon honorable discharge to live and attend Arizona State University where he also met his wife of nearly 54 years, Kathleen R. Schantz. Upon graduation, Jim became an elementary school teacher in the Washington School District (Cholla) where he taught for three years, then was hired in the Scottsdale School District and enjoyed a long career of 31 years (Paiute until closure and Pueblo until retirement).
Jim is survived by his wife Kathleen Ziska, daughter Kristina Ziska, son James (Brad) Ziska, daughter-in-law Denise Ziska, granddaughter Brittany Sanders, granddaughter Brianna and husband Kaiden Macdonald, grandson Kyle Ziska, great grandson Jovi Macdonald, sister Shirley and husband Phil Altosino, as well as numerous nieces , nephews, and extended family.
Jim was a loving and caring husband, father, and brother. Loved ones and friends remember him dearly for his humor, love of dogs, photography, and patriotism. Jim enjoyed his time as a league bowler for many years, long walks with his dogs, attending several of his 10-year high school reunions, and spaghetti dinners.
Jim’s passing leaves an empty place in our hearts, though we are comforted by his faith in Jesus Christ and certainty of his future in Heaven.
Condolences may be expressed at www.whitneymurphyfuneralhome.com.
We wish we could be there to comfort you all as you grieve.
Our heart & prayers goes out to you all, This is such a huge loss.
I always remember how he made us feel so welcome and like part of the family. He was funny, smart & an awesome family man. He spent so much time with kids during his teaching years & just being at his grandsons games.
I am glad we got to know him through Brad & Denise, such a great role model, he will definitely be missed by all that knew him.
Love, DJ, Sheryl & Andrew
Sharon Campbell Carlson
Dear Kathy, I was so sorry to hear about Jim. My prayers and thoughts are with you and your family.
I lost my husband exactly a year ago on Oct. 23, 2020.
It has been a very difficult journey. If you need to talk in the days, weeks or months ahead please give me a call. 480-204-0328. I would absolutely love to get together with you. It must be over 50 plus years.
Thinking of you in the days ahead.
Julie and Brian Vietri
Jim was a great friend and a dedicated member of our bowling league and team for years. He brought his winning attitude and special sense of humor every week! We feel lucky to have been counted among his friends. He will be greatly missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.
I just learned of Mr. Ziska’s passing and needed to offer my condolences.
I spent the 5th grade in Mr.Z’s Paiute Elementary class, and was fortunate to get a second school year with him when we both then moved on to the 6th grade. I appreciated and will remember him for his good humor and infinite patience.
Hi, I’m thinking of old teachers for some reason, for a couple months now. I remember Mr. Ziska from Paiute in the 70s. I loved how he had us do reports on a chosen Country (I was Sweden!) He was a great patient teacher. I was compelled to Google him… I’m sad to see he left us 2 months ago. I thought I’d send my best wishes & condolences to his family. I’ve had several losses & feel your pain. I tell myself, what i know to be true, they look down from Heaven wanting us happy, not sad.
Mr. Ziska was probably my favorite teacher ever. He made learning fun and fostered our creativity and curiosity. I had him for 5th grade in 1980 at Paiute. I remember surprisingly many things from that year (the saddest being the closing of Paiute) – getting behind on book reports and having to rush to get caught up, doing my state report on Vermont (I did pin the green mountain on the map). He would tally points for each group of desks/students who would compete against each other to be slaves and masters (sounds more ominous than it was). The losing group would bring snacks for the winning group when he would pull the old film projector out.
I continued to write Mr. Ziska for years. He knew I collected hippos and took dance classes and gave the a figurine of 2 hippo ballerinas that I still have and treasure even more thinking about his passing.
Kristi and I went to Arcadia together – would love to hear from you, Kristi!
Reflecting on his legacy, he touched many lives. I feel like he saw a spark in me that he kindled. Thank you.
Here are some comments about Mr. Ziska from Arcadia Class of 1988’s Facebook page:
one of the more formative teachers for me. sad to hear but a legacy of inspiring many on their way is a wonderful legacy. thanks for posting.
Jo Lynn D’Alesandro
Mr Ziska is always on my short list of great teachers!!
Tracey Ryder Rosenfeld
I didn’t have him. But all my friends did. How is Kristy? His daughter? I’m so sorry to hear he was a favorite at Paiute
I used to take care of the Ziska’s when I managed Manuel’s Mexican Food. How sad to hear. My prayers and thoughts are with the family❤️❤️
I loved having Mr. Ziska as well. The first time I heard the phrase “C-O-N-dictionary” (for example)”when asked how to spell a word was from him. I also remember his sense of humor.