Richard W. Zarski, 60, a long-time employee at Evanston’s Crown Recreation Center, died at Evanston Hospital on Sunday, March 12.

Zarski’s death was confirmed by his sister Amelia, who says he overcame the challenges of Down Syndrome to lead a full, productive life surrounded by his family and many friends in the Evanston community.

After his family moved to Evanston 53 years ago, Zarski attained the rank of Eagle Scout as a member of Boy Scout Troop 17 for developmentally disabled boys attending Park School in Evanston.

After graduating from Park School, he became a city employee working at the Robert Crown Center and ultimately was recognized for 35 years of service by the City.

Zarski was also a dedicated Special Olympics athlete, winning medals in bowling, basketball, bocce ball and track. As a life-long fan of the Chicago Cubs and Northwestern Wildcats, he attended many home games of the teams and enjoyed meeting players and coaches.

A memorial service and Mass is scheduled for April 10, at 10 a.m. in St. Athanasius Catholic Church. The family requests that donations be made in his memory to the Special Olympics or to the charity of your choice.

In addition to Amelia, of Evanston, Zarski is survived by his siblings, Michael, of Wilmette and David of Philadelphia. He is also survived by nieces Sylvia, Julia and Lila Zarski. He was preceded in death by his parents, Raymond W. and Charlotte Popiel Zarski and niece Anna Zarski.

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  1. Old friend, notable son of Evanston

    The wonderful photo of Richard caught my eye first and then the sad news of his passing.  Richard was a gentle, courtly soul, full of quiet grace and courage.  He was a fixture in my childhood as a schoolmate of my brother at Park School.  He was an inspiration in the early days of my career as a teacher at Park, and later at ETHS.  Whenever we crossed paths, we shared our memories of the old days and news of our respective families. The whole Zarski family, but especially Richard, represented the best of our community. We mourn his loss.

    1. Rest In Peace

      Richard lived as a role model for all of us; do the most with what you have. Condolences to his friends and family.

  2. Im so sorry to hear about the

    Im so sorry to hear about the death of Richie. I worked with Richie for many years @ Robt Crown.I worked Summer Food Program..Every summer he looked forward to bringing the ice bags outside.He would always ask”how many bags today Elizabeth”RIP..God Bless..To his family he was a great guy. We all loved,Richie..

  3. Rich always lit up the room

    Rich always lit up the room when he walked in. He was like a brother to me. I will miss him greatly.❤️

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