Thomas 'Tom' Edward Zalabak

MONTICELLO — Thomas “Tom” Edward Zalabak, age 73, of Monticello, passed away on Sunday, February 12, 2023, surrounded by his family.

He was born in 1949 in Chicago, to George and Alyce (Jordon) Zalabak. He grew up in Stickney, Ill. and Lyons, Ill. with his two brothers, William and James. He was a 1967 graduate of Morton West High School.

Tom enlisted in the U.S. Army in April 1969 and is a veteran of the Vietnam War. He was honorably discharged in April 1972 having achieved the rank of Specialist 5. Shortly thereafter, on August 5, he married his high school sweetheart, Cheryl Pankow, his wife of over 50 years.

Tom worked in the newspaper advertising industry for 50 years, holding every title from sales representative, to director, to vice president. He was a recognized and awarded authority on newspaper advertising and enjoyed educating others on perfecting the art of newspaper advertising sales. Not long before his retirement, Tom worked in advertising sales at the Clinton Journal. Tom retired in November 2020.

He enjoyed spending time with his family, playing ice hockey, building model cars, fishing in the Northwoods of Wisconsin, and his red Ford Mustang.

He was a devoted father and grandfather. He is survived by his loving wife Cheryl; six children, Joseph (Jennifer) Zalabak, of Champaign; Robert (Savannah) Zalabak, of Darien, Ill.; Margaret (Josh) Mink, of Woodridge, Ill.; Andrew Zalabak, of Monticello; Thomas (Brittany) Zalabak, of Champaign, and Elyse Zalabak, of Monticello; five grandchildren, Haven, Jonathan, Eden, Willow and Thomas; and two brothers William Zalabak and James (Mary) Zalabak.

A visitation for Tom will be held on Friday, February 24, 2023, from 4-8 p.m. at Mount Auburn Funeral Home, 4101 S. Oak Park Avenue, Stickney, IL.