Date of death: 7/10/2021
Saint Meinrad Class: O 1967
Father Daniel J. Zak, a Roman Catholic priest of the Diocese of Toledo since 1967, passed away in his sleep on July 10, 2021, in Hospice of Northwest Ohio, Toledo, Ohio. He was 79 years old.
He was born on November 4, 1941 to Thaddeus and Adeline (Brzozka) Zak. His parents and twin brother, Dave, pre-deceased him. He is survived by brothers, Jim (Sharon) and Ted (Eileen); along with numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.
Growing up, he attended St. Adalbert Parish and School (1947-1955) and went on to St. Francis de Sales High School (1955-1959). After graduation he attended St. Meinrad Seminary College in Southern Indiana (1959-1963) earning a degree in Philosophy. He also conducted post-graduate studies at Mt. St. Mary’s Seminary College in Cincinnati, Ohio (1963-1967) earning a M.A. in Theology, Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio (1963-1965) studying Political Science, St. Louis University in St. Louis, Missouri (1966-1967) studying Social Work, Youth in Community and Juvenile Delinquency, and finally the University of Toledo in Toledo, Ohio (1968-1975) earning a Masters in Education/Counseling and Guidance.
As a Diocesan priest, Dan held assignments at St. Clement Church (Toledo), Sts. Peter and Paul Parish (Sandusky), Lima Central Catholic High School (Lima), Associate Director of Vocations Department (Toledo), Diocesan Director of Vocation Department (Toledo), Co-Pastor (with Father Jim Bacik) of Corpus Christi Parish at the University of Toledo (Toledo), Summer Chaplain at Cedar Point Amusement Park (Sandusky), Parish Chaplain at St. Thomas More University Parish (Bowling Green) and finally Pastor at St. Richard Parish (Swanton). On July 1, 2012 Dan was granted Senior Status.
In over 50 years of service, Fr. Zak was also involved in numerous other ministries including: Associate Member of the Sisters of St. Francis Sylvania since 1984, Student Lounge at Corpus Christi University Parish (dedicated in his honor on September 27, 1998), Rotary Club Member – including mission trips (3) to Honduras, Home Repair Ministry – founding member (arm of Maumee Valley Chapter of Habitat for Humanity (2009 to present), Heartbeat – board member (2012 to 2017), Prison Ministry Team – Toledo Correctional Institution and Corrections Center of NW Ohio, The Sophia Center at Lourdes University – counseling and spiritual direction, Christian Leadership Program @ CCUP University of Toledo – counseling and spiritual direction, Christian Appalachian Project – alternative spring break experience repairing and building homes in Kentucky – spent over 25 years coordinating students to attend and then working with them and other college students from all over the country. And the list goes on.
Although never being a smoker, he was diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis in 2017. Fr. Zak’s condition deteriorated over time requiring him to use supplemental oxygen for the past two years. The last 90 days, he had been in St. Luke’s Hospital, Rosary Care Center, Flower Hospital and finally Hospice of Northwest Ohio where he succumbed to his illness.
He will be remembered as a dear friend to everyone who knew him. He officiated at over 320 marriages during his tenure and impacted thousands of college students from around the country particularly those from Bowling Green State University and the University of Toledo. His legacy will be measured by the lives of those whom he touched over these past 50 years.