American Veteran 04

Emil P. Zelei

July 12, 1927 ~ May 5, 2019 (age 91)


DOYLESTOWN – Emil Peter Zelei, 91, left us while sleeping peacefully in hospice care.  He died on Sunday morning, May 5, 2019 surrounded by his children and loving caregivers.  He was preceded in death by his wife, Mona Zelei in 2015.

Emil retired from PPG after 40 years of service, interrupted by his duty as a United States Marine in 1946-48, and again during the Korean conflict.  In November of 1950, he was wounded in the Battle of the Chosin Reservoir, where his company was surrounded by numerically superior Chinese forces.  Emil was wounded early in the battle, yet fought on until relieved.  He was evacuated under fire and endured sub-zero cold in the long retreat.  He was cited for his service and received the Purple Heart.  He was always, in his heart, a Marine, and a member of the band of heroes, the “Chosin Few.”

He is survived by four children, Deborah Zelei-Leas (Ken), Diane Houlihan (Bob), Dorene Zelei, and Dan Zelei; special nephew, Martin Zelei; six grandchildren, and six great grandchildren.

The family would like to thank the loving caregivers at Doylestown Health Care, where Emil spent his last days charming the staff, and Crossroads Hospice for their care in his last hours. 

Mass of the Christian Burial will be celebrated on Friday, May 10, 2019 at 11 a.m. at St. Peter and Paul Catholic Church, 161 W. Clinton St. Doylestown, with Fr. Robert Stein, celebrant. Interment will follow at the church cemetery. Friends and family may call on Thursday from 5-7 p.m. at the Zak-Thacker and Monbarren Funeral Home, 132 N. Portage St., Doylestown. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Emil’s name to a charity of one’s choice.  Online obituary and guest registry are available at

(Zak-Thacker & Monbarren, 330-658-2211)





To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Emil P. Zelei, please visit our floral store.


May 9, 2019

5:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Zak-Thacker & Monbarren Funeral Home
132 N. Portage St.
Doylestown, OH 44230

Mass of Christian Burial
May 10, 2019

11:00 AM
Sts. Peter & Paul Catholic Church
161 W. Clinton St.
Doylestown, OH 44230


A Charity of One's Choice

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