Captain R.E. “Ed” Zunich, USN ret, died at the age of 80 on May 19, 2023 after a hard-fought battle with cancer. Ed was born on May 1, 1943 in Telluride Colorado, and moved at an early age to American Fork, Utah.
He attended the University of Utah with a Naval ROTC scholarship and graduated in 1965. He received a master’s degree from Central Michigan University in 1980. Ed was a surface warfare officer in the United States Navy, commanding three ships: USS Litchfield County, USS Gallant, and USS Francis Hammond. He served two tours in Vietnam and served at sea on the staff of the Seventh Fleet Command. Shore tours included the Bureau of Naval Personnel, the Navy Military Personnel Command, the U.S. Atlantic Command, and he was the commanding officer of Fleet Combat Training Center, Dam Neck. Ed served as the Federal Government representative on the Conference Board Quality Council and he was a member of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award evaluation team.
Ed completed his Navy career in 1993. After leaving the Navy he accepted a position as Vice President Total Quality at Grimes Aerospace Company. Ed then embarked on a successful consulting career and developed a program for industrial productivity called Practical Process Improvement (PPI).
Ed was pensive, task-oriented, and methodical. He oftentimes came across as gruff and unamused, but he was always thinking, and nothing could stop him from thinking. He loved making lists; one of his very last lists he made was a list of tasks for his kids to complete after his passing. Here is a list of things people may not have known about Ed: 1) Ed was a painter, primarily using watercolors and acrylics. 2) The meatball scene in Lady and the Tramp always moved Ed to tears. 3) Ed played several sports: basketball, football, lacrosse, and track & field (specifically pole vault). 4) Ed has been to North Korea. 5) Ed’s favorite movies included either the Three Stooges, Mel Brooks, or Bill Murray. 6) Ed loved music and was a talented pianist in his youth. 7) Ed was a member of Phi Delta Theta fraternity at the University of Utah.
Ed is pre-deceased by his wife, Norma D. Zunich, of Winston-Salem, North Carolina. He is survived by his two kids, Kate Tippin (Mike) and Andy Zunich (Kelly); three grandkids, Mollie Tippin and Charlie and Ella Zunich; and two sisters, Deanne L. Fraser and Christine Z. Dickinson.
A mass will be held at Star of the Sea Catholic Church, 1404 Pacific Avenue, Virginia Beach on July 13, 2023 at 11 a.m. A dual burial service with his wife Norma and full military honors will take place at Arlington National Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Virginia Beach Rescue Squad or Star of the Sea Church.
A heartfelt thanks to all the Shadowlawn families who welcomed Ed & Norma with open arms and always kept an eye out for them. To Carra, we are forever indebted to you; thank you for taking care of Ed in a way that no one else could.