Obituary: John Joseph Zettel

John Joseph Zettel, 54, of the Town of Baileys Harbor, passed away at home late Sunday afternoon, March 5, 2017 with family and friends at his side.

He was born August 10, 1962 in Sturgeon Bay, the only child of Cletus and Agnes (Washichek) Zettel. John graduated from Gibraltar High School in 1980 before attending diesel mechanic school at NWTC. He was a long-time heavy equipment operator for Northeast Asphalt until his health caused him to retire in June of 2016. John was diagnosed with brain cancer in September of 2015. He never lost his strong sense of family and sense of humor as he fought through this devastating diagnosis. His love of his children, his sweetheart Pam, and many friends gave him strength throughout this journey.

John owned and operated Zettel Farms and Zettel Sales & Service in Peninsula Center. He grew Montmorency tart, Balaton, and sweet cherries for more than 30 years. John sold, repaired, and rented snowmobiles at the service shop, which was right next to the county snowmobile trail. His roots stayed close to home as PC Junction had been his parents’ grocery business throughout his childhood.

John’s family meant everything to him. He loved his kids, especially attending and watching their school events and athletic contests when they were young. John was a member of the Door Central Snowgoers Snowmobile Club in Egg Harbor, past chairman of the Farm Service Agency board of Door County, past president of the Wisconsin Cherry Growers Association, and a member of Union Local 139 of the National Operating Engineers. As his illness worsened, he really missed time spent with his dogs, Sammy and PJ, especially going on morning coffee rides together, and letting the dogs out to run in the orchard.

John will be missed by his two children, Jennifer and Robert; his dear Pam and her children, Heather and Jennifer; aunt, Beatrice Bretl; dogs, Sammy and PJ; many cousins; and friends.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, March 11, 2017 at Stella Maris Parish-Egg Harbor site with Fr. David Ruby and Fr. Anthony Birdsall concelebrating. Burial will be in St. John the Baptist Cemetery with his parents.

Family and friends may call from 4:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. on Friday, March 10, 2017 at Huehns Funeral Home in Sturgeon Bay with a parish wake service to be held at 7:45 p.m. and led by Pastoral Associate Becky Nash. Visitation will continue at the church, Saturday morning, from 9:30 a.m. until the time of Mass.

Memorials may be given in John’s memory for DOOR CANcer, Inc.

John’s family would especially like to thank his friends for their love and support; Dr. Anthony Jaslowski and the entire staff at the Door County Cancer Center for their care and support; and the Unity Hospice staff for their care and compassion throughout these past weeks and months.

Expressions of sympathy, memories, and photos of John may be shared with his family through his tribute page at

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