Obituary: Russell Lewis Van Zilen Sr.
Russell Lewis Van Zilen Sr.
1942 - 2022
Russell Lewis Van Zilen, Sr., 80, of Cottonwood, Arizona, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, April 13, 2022, in his home with his family and loved ones at his side.
Russ served in the U.S. Navy from 1961 to 1965, aboard the USS San Marcos. Later, Russ was employed with the Englewood Police Department in Englewood, New Jersey, and served there for 25 years as a Detective, garnering a multitude of accolades and awards for his service to the community. He retired from the police force in 1993, and moved with his family to Arizona.
Russ enjoyed hunting, hiking, cooking, and was an avid fisherman. You could find him almost daily fishing his favorite spot at Dead Horse State Park, or walking the lagoon paths with his faithful dog, Kimber. Russ didn't know the meaning of the word stranger. Everyone he met became a friend. He had an infectious personality, and a smile that lit up the room when he walked in. He will be missed by all who knew him.
Russ is survived by his significant other, Christine McCarthy, of Cottonwood; his children, Kim Kelnhofer of Cottonwood, Russell Van Zilen, Jr, of Cottonwood, Pamela (Jack) Cassidy, of Bergenfield, New Jersey, Jennifer (Shane) Cox, of Cottonwood, and Lindsay (Matthew) Aronson, of Queen Creek, Arizona; and his sister, Katherine Larena of Charlotte, North Carolina. He also leaves behind numerous nieces and nephews, many beloved grandchildren, and a great-grandson. He was preceded in his death by his parents George Van Zilen and May Van Zilen, and his siblings May Gakoumis, Elenore Gerster, Florence Heil, Marjorie Thaller, Helma Pattershall, George Van Zilen, and Viola Neu.
A Celebration of Life in Russ' honor is scheduled for Saturday, May 14, from 3-7 p.m., at Dead Horse State Park in Cottonwood, Arizona. Guests are invited to bring a potluck-style dish, and come to share memories and anecdotes of their time with Russ. Everyone is encouraged to bring a fishing rod and tackle, and enjoy Russ' most loved pastime in his favorite location. (A valid AZ Fishing license is required.) Please be advised that Dead Horse State Park charges an entry fee of $7 for each vehicle entering the park.
Information provided by the family.