James Willard Zeberlein

March 18, 1934 - September 18, 2021
James Willard Zeberlein

James W. Zeberlein, age 87, peacefully passed away September 18, 2021 in North Salt Lake, UT. from the effects of a previous stroke and old age. He joins his of wife of 53 years, Ann Linthicum Zeberlein, who died February 2, 2011.

James is survived by his daughter Stephanie M Chitty of Lawrenceville, GA.; 2 sons & daughters-in-law, James. W. Zeberlein, Jr. and his wife Pam of North Salt Lake, Utah & Scott Zeberlein and his wife, Donna of Jacksonville, FL.; his grandson and wife, Austin and Kathleen Zeberlein of Monroe, NC and his granddaughter Natalie Chitty of Decatur, GA.

James was born March 18, 1934 to George & Constance Zeberlein in Baltimore, Maryland. He grew up in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Baltimore with his family and numerous aunts, uncles and cousins. He graduated high school from the Baltimore Polytechnic Institute and after 1 year at the University of Pennsylvania, was accepted to the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis. There, Jim was a stand out on Navy’s wrestling team and was notorious for keeping a menagerie of pets in his room “unhindered by the Academy’s Executive Department.” He graduated and married his wife Ann in 1957.

After his commission into the Air Force and flight school, Jim started his family and began his military career out of Lockbourne AFB in Columbus, Ohio, piloting the B47 Stratojet. In 1966, he was assigned to the 4th Air Commando Squadron at Pleiku AB RVN. where he flew the first of the fixed wing gunships, the Douglas AC-47 aka “Spooky” or “Puff the Magic Dragon”. He was awarded a Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal with 9 oak leaf clusters and the Republic of Viet Nam’s Gallantry Cross. 

After Viet Nam, Jim earned a Masters Degree in Civil Engineering from Arizona State University and spent the rest of his 22-year Air Force career managing mechanical & civil engineering operations for the Air Force in Turkey, Michigan and Georgia. He retired as a Lt. Colonel in 1979, settled in Lawrenceville, Ga. and began another career managing and modifying railway stations throughout the south east for Southern Railway until his final retirement in 1989. Jim loved trains from his childhood and especially enjoyed his work there.

The rest of his life was spent with family enjoying his grandkids, painting, music, the Ravens and Orioles, computers, talking politics and not having to shovel snow. Jim was a devout Roman Catholic who spent his life in faith, praying for grace and forgiveness, trusting in Jesus Christ.

His Funeral Mass will be celebrated on Friday, September 24, 2021 at 3:00 pm at St. Olaf’s Catholic Church, 276 East 1700 South Bountiful, UT 84010. His ashes will be interred with Ann at 10:30am, December 3rd 2021 at the Naval Academy Cemetery & Columbarium, Annapolis MD.

In lieu of flowers, please make a contribution in his name to St Marguerite d’Youville Catholic Church 85 Gloster Rd NW, Lawrenceville, GA 30044. https://stmdy.org/