Anne M. and Vincent J. Zak Memorial Scholarship Fund
Est. in 2021 as a scholarship fund by their children, Deb and Linda.
Anne and Vincent Zak were married for more than 50 years. The loving couple lived long happy lives, and had a large, wonderful family. He was a mechanical genius who worked with his hands. She was a retired nurse that loved knitting and gardening.
After both passed away, Vincent at age 80 and then last year Anne at 103, their children wanted to honor the hardworking and generous Shelton couple. They decided to create a scholarship fund in their name at the Valley Community Foundation to benefit Shelton High School students.
“The scholarships will benefit kids in our hometown,” said Vincent and Anne’s daughter, Debra Petrushonis. “One scholarship will be awarded to a student who enrolls in a trade school or goes to college for machining, manufacturing, HVAC, automotive, electrical, or mechanical engineering. To honor my mother, a scholarship will go to a student who studies nursing.”
Debra, a nurse like her mother was, remembers how her father encouraged his children to continue their education as far as possible. She and her sister, Linda Purcel, worked for the Shelton School District and their brother, Vincent Zak III, was a tugboat captain and worked in construction.
“My father left school in the sixth grade because he and his four siblings had to work on the farm,” she said. “He was a self-taught mechanic and would take care of tractors and bulldozers on the farm. He could fix anything. When he was older, he worked in the factories as a tool and die maker. He was a genius in math and could do any calculation he needed at work.”
Anne could sew, knit, crochet, grow any vegetable or flower, and bake like a pastry chef. But her true passion was nursing.
“She went to nursing school when we were kids and then worked at Griffin Hospital until her retirement,” Debra said. “I treasure the photo of the three generations of nurses, my mother, me, and my daughter. This scholarship fund gives back to our community in a way that honors all that my parents have done.”
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