CHESHIRE – John Henry Zaleski, aged 68, beloved son of Philipa (“Millie”) Amoroso Zaleski, and the late Henry F. Zaleski, passed peacefully on July 3, 2020. John was born on April 9, 1952, in Fort Dix, N.J. He graduated from Platt High School in 1970, where in his senior year he won the Hicks Essay/Speaking Contest. He worked at SNET and Frontier for many years.
He is survived by his son Jonathan (Megan) Zaleski, his daughter Ciara (Sonia) Houghton, and his close mentees Bob Hotchkiss and Scott Bethke. He is also survived by his siblings Cassandra (Russ) Dibble, Ann (Carlo) Marchi, Mary (Chris) Sattler, Gina Zaleski, Luke (Kim) Zaleski, and Matthew (Kyleen) Zaleski as well as his aunts and uncles Lena (Steve) Nowakowski, Lucy (Ron) Meoni, Teresa (Jack) Butler, Joanne (Dwayne) Kennedy, and Anthony (Sharon) Amoroso, and his numerous cousins, nieces, and nephews. John was predeceased by his sister Donna Zaleski, his grandparents John and Catherine Amoroso, Henry and Anna Zaleski, as well as his godparents Rose (Casimir) Nessing and Paul (Smigs) Michalczyk.
A few weeks before graduating high school, John suffered an accident which left him paralyzed from the waist-down. John’s strength and “I’ll show you” attitude empowered him in the face of adversity, making his life look almost effortless. John continued to be driven by his passion for athletics and music, competing as a member of the Spokebenders, CT’s premier wheelchair basketball team. He also coached the Cheshire Special Olympics boys’ basketball team, alongside his two brothers Luke and Matthew, to win several gold medal performances. John’s golden vocal chords and flute graced audiences of his two bands (Long Sunday Drive and Tropical Hot Dog) in the Meriden area. In later years, he was known as Jonny Zee, singing karaoke up and down the eastern seaboard. John was a loving, dedicated father and a kind soul, always willing to lend a hand or even give a second chance. John enjoyed old movies, especially those starring Charlie Chaplin and Barbara Stanwyck. He loved to play Strat-o-Matic throughout his life and taught many others to play as well. He was a lifelong Minnesota Twins fan. Above all else, John loved and enjoyed time with his family, and his dog Ella, who survives him. A man with a steely wit and a heart of gold, John will forever live in the hearts of those he taught, mentored, and raised, in addition to his karaoke family.
John’s family would like to thank all the loving care he received throughout his illnesses.
Given the COVID-19 pandemic, services and remembrance will be held and announced at a date to be determined by John’s family. May he rest in peace — we all know the heavens are rockin’ now.