In Memoriam - Gloria Zielke

In Memory of SSL Founding Member, Gloria Zielke

Gloria Esther Hoffman Zielke passed away peacefully on November 15, 2020.  Gloria was born on February 28, 1930 in Chicago Il, the 5th of six children to Lawrence Tennis Hoffman and Esther Amanda Dahlberg.  She is preceded in death by her older brothers Larry, Jack, Ray, and Gene as well as her younger sister Margaret.  Gloria married Bob Zielke on January 29, 1955 and celebrated 62 years of marriage shortly before Bob's death in March 2017.  Bob and Gloria moved to Sacramento in June 1962 and raised 4 children Bob (deceased), David, Margaret, and Carol.  Gloria was also a grandmother to 8 and great grandmother to 8.  

Gloria was an active member in the community and immersed herself in a variety of activities throughout her life in Sacramento.  In 1965, Gloria and 2 other mothers started the College Greens Swim Team and the following year Gloria organized and hosted the first Championship Swim Meet at College Greens Swim Club with participating teams forming the Suburban Swim League the following year. Gloria was an avid fan of the swim team and swim league, attending Championship Meets nearly every year for over 50 years where she took meticulous notes, recognized league records set by swimmers from all the teams, and simply loved seeing thousands of kids experience the joy of friendly competition. She lived to see the Championship Team Trophy named in her honor by the League Board. Gloria remained active in the Swim Club her entire life and was granted lifetime membership status by the Club Board for her contributions to the Club since its founding in 1964.

Open moving to Sacramento in 1962 Gloria became an active parishioner at St. Mary's Catholic Church where she served on the Mother's Club Board of the school for 20 years, was a member of the Altar Society until shortly before her death, volunteered time serving in various roles in the annual St. Mary's Church festival, and along with husband Bob directed the St. Mary's Social Club for many years.  Gloria was recognized by then Bishop Bell for her years of service to the school.

Gloria along with husband Bob also devoted significant time serving in various capacities and events at Christian Brothers High School and St. Francis High School while their children attended those schools during the 70s and 80s.

Gloria loved the energy and optimism of children and made a point of being present at any youth activities in which her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren participated, all of whom were in her words, "exceptional".  Besides youth sports, she loved attending musical events, school events such as Christmas concerts, school plays, school fund raisers, etc. In her later years Gloria became an avid fan of Jesuit Drama and supported that program as a Patron of the Arts. She always made a point of telling the participants how proud she was of all of them and how well they had played, sang, performed, etc.  She was in brief, their biggest fan.

When her children reached adult age, Gloria found some free time and returned to school at Sacramento City College.  She was an avid reader her entire life and a frequent visitor to the local library where she often brought her children and grandchildren to pick out books.  This passion for reading and learning is one that she believed in strongly and practiced her entire life.

After earning an AA degree in journalism from Wright Junior College in Chicago, Gloria worked at the Tribune in Chicago prior to having a family and then went to work in the most challenging job of all as mother and homemaker.  After 30 years Gloria returned to the work force where she worked at Sears warehouse until her retirement in 1996.  Gloria could not stay completely away from work and signed on to work the polls each election.  She loved this job and believed strongly in people's right to vote and ensuring the the neighborhood polling center was run properly and efficiently. Gloria took her civic responsibility seriously and remained active in politics her entire life. She cast her last vote in the recent November 3rd election and was thrilled to see Kamala Harris, an Asian-African American Woman named as Vice President elect of the United States.

Gloria lived a full life full of love and service to her community.  She exemplified what it meant to be a servant of the Lord.  In the age of Covid, the family will have a private family funeral service at St. Mary's Catholic Church.  Gloria supported many charities some of which were Jesuit High School, Christian Brothers High School, St. Francis High School, St. Mary's Altar Society, College Greens Swim Club, The National MS Society, the American Cancer Society and the American Heart Association.  if you are so inclined to make a donation in her name to any of these charities please accept our thanks as a way of honoring her life.