Andrew Michael Zelenak died peacefully surrounded by his family on April 3 in Lacey, following a brief illness. He was born in Tacoma on December 13, 1921, the fifth of nine children of John and Mary Zelenak. He grew up in Tacoma and graduated from Bellarmine Prep. During WWII he served in the Coast Guard in southeast Alaska, in the process developing a life-long love of Alaska. After the war he attended the Northwest School of Art and Design, in preparation for a career as a commercial artist. He worked in outdoor advertising for Foster and Kleiser for a number of years, before becoming the signmaker for Mount Rainier National Park. While working at Mount Rainier he also made signs for several other national parks, including Denali and North Cascades. Following his years at Mount Rainier, he worked until his retirement as a signmaker and graphic artist at Madigan Army Medical Center.
In retirement he spent much of his time, for nearly two decades, as a volunteer at the Point Defiance Greenhouse. In 2005 he was recognized by the Metropolitan Park District for his many years of Volunteer service. He was a skilled and dedicated gardener at home as well; the garden of his longtime home in Fircrest was a well-known neighborhood landmark. He was equally talented with respect to his other two hobbies of painting and woodworking. He was a pioneer member of St. Charles Borromeo Parish in Tacoma, for which he did a great deal of volunteer work. He was especially proud to have been described as the Michelangelo of the parish by the pastor in recognition of his work in painting the churchs statues. After having lived in Fircrest for many decades, in 2006 he and his wife Ruth, moved to Panorama City in Lacey.
He is survived by Ruth Granger Zelenak of Lacey, his wife of 57 years; by his son and daughter in law, George and Lori Zelenak of Tumwater; by his son and daughter in law Lawrence Zelenak and Jeanne Moskal of Chapel Hill, North Carolina; by his grandchildren Kevin Zelenak, Ryan Zelenak, Megan Zelenak, Breanne Zelenak and Alice Zelenak; and by his brother Gerald Zelenak. He was preceded in death by seven of his brothers and sisters: John Zelenak, Rev. George Zelenak, S.J., Sister Anne Zelenak, C.S.J.P., Mary Scheidt, Paul Zelenak, Joseph Zelenak and Michael Zelenak.
Funeral Mass will be celebrated Friday, April 11, 2008, 11:00 am St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church. Visitation will be held Thursday, April 10, 2008 from 10:00am to 8:00pm at Gaffney Funeral Home. Interment at Calvary Cemetery.