Obituary of Betty Conahey Zajac
Betty Conahey Zajac, beloved wife of Stephen and mother of Stephen Jr, Sonna, Michael and Patrick, died peacefully on July 17th in Melbourne, FL. Family and friends were fortunate to celebrate her 90th birthday this past year. Born in Millville, NJ, January 9, 1933, she grew up in the small oyster village of Port Norris, NJ. Mrs. Zajac went on to live a remarkable life. Raised by her loving parents Mary and Edward Conahey, she graduated from Millville Memorial High School in 1950. She was the first female in her high school to be elected President of the Student Council.
The first in her family to attend college, she graduated from Keystone Junior College in Factoryville, PA in 1952 with an Associate Degree in Medical Technology. It was there she met the love of her life, Stephen George Zajac. They met in 1950, the first week of freshman year. They said hello on a campus path and both turned around for a second look. The rest is history; they married on October 2, 1954, raised a family of four children and were happily married 39 years before Stephen’s passing in 1993.
Married to a career military officer, Betty embraced the “Army life”; enjoying assignments all over Germany and family travel throughout Europe and parts of the Middle East. She also had a strong sense of service; serving as an officer or Board Member for the Army Wives Club at every location at which her husband was stationed. In addition to her activities with Army Wives, over the years she also provided literacy services for non-readers; drove a dialysis patient weekly to treatment; provided care giving for an elderly individual and of course, volunteered for children’s activities; PTA, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, school and sports volunteer activities. During all this she also managed to get her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Psychology and Human Relations; and worked for several years as a woman’s counselor during the tumultuous late 70’s and early 80’s.
Betty and Steve moved to Satellite Beach in 1978 where they enjoyed an active social life; sailing, traveling and dancing - both Steve and Betty loved a good jitterbug, polka, square dancing and traditional Ukrainian dancing. In later years Betty became an avid ballroom dancer and found her happy place on the dance floor. They also became “snowbirds” and spent 6 months of the year in Montrose PA reconnecting with college friends and family near Steve’s hometown of Factoryville, PA.
In her later years Betty moved to IRCC; Indian River Colony Club; and continued her legacy of service; she founded the Army Wives of IRCC; served on various Boards for the community and assisted in fund raising efforts; strongly believing “Service for those who served”. She was recently awarded the first “Betty Zajac Award” named in her honor from the Army Women organization at IRCC for her exemplary service and contributions to the community.
For her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren; “Nana” loved them fiercely and unconditionally. She had a youthful outlook on life; always ready to go on an adventure or sit on the floor and do yoga. She loved hearing about the lives of her grandchildren. She had a savvy intellect and loved discussions about the stock market and real estate; she was a force to be reckoned with and touched the lives of many people in countless ways.
Betty was the beloved mother of Stephen Zajac Jr, his wife Teresa MacArthur, Lake Jackson, TX; Sonna Gusky, her husband David Gusky, Melbourne Fl; Michael Zajac, his wife Olivia Zajac, Palm Bay, FL; and Patrick Zajac, his wife Polly Zajac, Indialantic, FL; beloved grandmother of Dana Gusky, Sydney (Zajac) and Ethan Ott, Emma Gusky, Stephanie Zajac, Abby Zajac, Adrian Gusky, Audrey and Miles Zajac; and cherished great-grandmother of Thomas and Eloise Ott. She is also survived by her adored sister, Hattie Ayres, brother Granville, and countless cousins, nieces, nephews, and longtime friends. She was predeceased by siblings Jane, Beatrice, Mary, Beatrice and Lillian.
Betty will be buried with her husband Stephen at Arlington National Cemetery at a date to be determined.To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Betty Zajac, please visit Tribute Store