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In loving memory of
Dennis Louie Zak
  • January 20, 1945
  • -
  • May 21, 2021

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Obituary

Dennis Louie Zak, age 76, passed away peacefully surrounded by his family on Friday, the 21st of May 2021 at Shands Hospital in Gainesville, FL after a 50 day battle against insurmountable odds with Covid.
Dennis is survived by his wife of 30 years, Karen L’Heureux Zak of the Villages, FL; his children, Chad of Burnsville, MN, Christina Gregg (Kelly) of Tomball, TX, Courtney Clark (Jake) of Lebanon, TN, Tyler (Kathryn) of Orlando, FL and Ryan (Olivia) of Fort Worth, TX; his grandchildren, Joseph (Lea), Jenny, and Olivia; and his great-grandchildren, Giana, Dominic, Caleb, Roman and Briella. He is also survived by his sister, Shirley Paulson (Clarks Grove, MN) and brother, Gary (Albert Lea, MN); many nieces and nephews; and many friends considered family.
He was preceded in death by his parents Louie and Anna Zak (Owatonna, MN) and sister Sharon Bauldry.
Dennis was born on a cold Minnesota day, January 20, 1945 in Owatonna, MN the second child of Louie and Anna Zak. He grew up on a farm near Geneva, MN. Not wanting to milk cows twice a day, 365 days a year he graduated from Ellendale High School in 1963 and pursued a BSc degree at the University of Minnesota (Morris); a Masters degree at the University of Minnesota (ST Paul); and graduated with a PhD in Food Science from the Pennsylvania State University in 1973. He began a long and storied career in Research and Development with the M&M/Mars Company in Hackettstown, NJ. His work took him from the Amazon in South America working on developing the perfect cocoa beans to the Governor’s Palace in Austria as a guest lecturer in confectionery processes and all over the United States. He made many contributions to the M&M’s product line including being a patent holder for the Peanut Butter M&M product. Dennis retired from M&M in 2003 and began consulting to the confectionery industry with significant projects in South Korea and China. With retirement he took up the game of golf which he loved for the challenge and to be outside enjoying the sunshine.
Dennis had boundless love for his wife and children, family and friends. He was a devoted father, deeply involved in his children’s lives, from coaching baseball and football for his sons; to helping with school projects; driving lessons; and in their adult years their home projects consultant and career counselor. Many of his children’s friends considered him a second father or mentor. He and Karen were married at Trinity Episcopal Church and found their spiritual home there for over 25 years. He was involved with the Vestry, Youth Group, and various committees over the years. He truly felt his children were life’s greatest gift.
A Celebration of Life service will be held on Wednesday, May 26, 2021 at Baldwin Brothers
3990 E. SR 44, Wildwood, FL from 1pm-3pm. All are welcome to attend and celebrate Dennis’ life.
A Memorial Service will be held in Pennsylvania at Trinity Episcopal Church Buckingham on Saturday June 26, 2021.


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  1. Wolfgang Gstattenbauer lit a candle:
    05 Jul 2021
    Lit since July 5, 2021 at 7:26:03 PM

  2. Yvette Thomas posted an image:
    22 Jun 2021
    PMCA 100th Anniversary Gala Event - Hershey, PA  - 2007
    PMCA 100th Anniversary Gala Event - Hershey, PA - 2007

  3. Jim Harding says:
    17 Jun 2021
    We car pooled to the E'town plant from our homes in Lancaster. Several time the snow was so bad I had my head out the window calling out the distance to the plowed line while Denny drove his little blue truck with sand bags in the truck bed and at times he did the same as I drove my little blue VW. We both had young families and exchange some "How To's" on life and parenting. He was a terrific scientist and a wonder friend. May he rest in GOD"s peace.

  4. Matt Petronio lit a candle:
    16 Jun 2021
    Lit since June 16, 2021 at 6:33:51 PM

  5. Dot Lagg lit a candle:
    16 Jun 2021
    Lit since June 16, 2021 at 6:15:26 PM

  6. Diane Hull lit a candle:
    16 Jun 2021
    Lit since June 16, 2021 at 6:33:05 AM

  7. Frank DeBrincat lit a candle:
    16 Jun 2021
    Lit since June 16, 2021 at 6:24:00 AM

  8. Kenneth Beck says:
    16 Jun 2021
    RIP Dennis, always enjoyed working with you in Elizabethtown & Hackettstown. Condolences to family

  9. Jerry Franks lit a candle:
    15 Jun 2021
    Lit since June 15, 2021 at 6:38:05 PM

  10. Jerry Franks says:
    15 Jun 2021
    Denny I so much remember the R&D weeks we did for training. You helped me muster the west coast and I loved working with you. You helped my career in terms of integration into the east coast. You took me under your wing and helped me so much. RIP brother

  11. Rich Benson lit a candle:
    15 Jun 2021
    Lit since June 15, 2021 at 6:52:49 PM

  12. Reg and June Ohlson lit a candle:
    14 Jun 2021
    Lit since June 14, 2021 at 6:10:31 PM

  13. Leeand Jan Romanczyk lit a candle:
    11 Jun 2021
    Lit since June 11, 2021 at 6:40:00 PM

  14. Jamie & Chris Mosberg lit a candle:
    31 May 2021
    Lit since May 31, 2021 at 5:12:09 PM

  15. Louis & Iris Brocco lit a candle:
    26 May 2021
    Lit since May 26, 2021 at 5:38:55 AM

  16. Louis & Iris Brocco lit a candle:
    26 May 2021
    Lit since May 26, 2021 at 5:37:37 AM

  17. Wendy, Russ & Kirsten lit a candle:
    26 May 2021
    Lit since May 26, 2021 at 5:23:42 AM

  18. Carlos Velez lit a candle:
    25 May 2021
    Lit since May 25, 2021 at 5:24:41 PM

  19. Carlos Velez lit a candle:
    25 May 2021
    Lit since May 25, 2021 at 5:22:57 PM

  20. Daren Brevik posted an image:
    25 May 2021
    I always enjoyed spending time with Dennis. He was such a wealth of knowledge in so many different things. It was a guarantee that I would learn something new every time I was around him. He was a great man, and will be missed. RIP Mr. Zak
    I always enjoyed spending time with Dennis. He was such a wealth of knowledge in so many different things. It was a guarantee that I would learn something new every time I was around him. He was a great man, and will be missed. RIP Mr. Zak

  21. Jane Hanrahan lit a candle:
    25 May 2021
    Lit since May 25, 2021 at 5:56:20 PM

  22. Theresa Yarbrough Dileo says:
    25 May 2021
    Dear Christina and family,

    The loss of one’s father marks one of the most profound rites of passage in our life. My heartfelt condolences to you and your entire family.

    Love,
    Theresa Dileo

  23. Roberta Long lit a candle:
    25 May 2021
    Lit since May 25, 2021 at 5:28:17 PM

  24. Bob Gettis says:
    25 May 2021
    We had the best of times with Karen, Denny, friends and family in the Poconos. We would sing, dance, play games and Dennis would win almost all the Pocono quizzes. He was a special person!

  25. Robert Kinney says:
    25 May 2021
    I was privileged to be his friend. I will miss you always my brother. Rest in Peace, in the arms of God.
    Bob Kinney

  26. Trista Mythen says:
    25 May 2021
    So sorry for your loss. Praying for your family at this difficult time.

  27. Lynda Ur-Stevens lit a candle:
    25 May 2021
    Lit since May 25, 2021 at 5:32:54 AM

  28. Patricia Farrington says:
    24 May 2021
    My condolences to you Karen and your beautiful family. I will so miss Dennis, that beautiful smile and easygoing mannerism. I will miss my friend!

  29. Amy Hibbs lit a candle:
    24 May 2021
    Lit since May 24, 2021 at 5:52:24 PM

  30. Lori Murray Scott says:
    24 May 2021
    What a man, that's all I can say!! My condolences to all of his friends and family❤️

  31. Ashlyn Stover lit a candle:
    24 May 2021
    Lit since May 24, 2021 at 5:09:38 PM

  32. Ashlyn Stover says:
    24 May 2021
    My prayers go out to you Karen, Tyler, Ryan and the rest of the Zak family!! I realize it is always hard to loose a father and husband before their time. I know you will miss him dearly. He was/is a nice sweet man. RIP Dennis and watch over your family! My you friend comfort in the lord during your grief journey all. Love from Ashlyn Stover

  33. Becky West says:
    24 May 2021
    Our deepest Sympathy and prayers of comfort and loving memories to cherish go to Courtney, Jake and Olivia.
    Love, Aunt Becky and Ron

  34. Joanne Zeugner says:
    24 May 2021
    I only spent a day with Dennis but that day left me with a wonderful memory. My heart is aching for your loss.

  35. Lise King posted an image:
    24 May 2021
    Going to miss his smile and love of life. ❤️❤️❤️
    Going to miss his smile and love of life. ❤️❤️❤️

  36. Carol Huppmann lit a candle:
    24 May 2021
    Lit since May 24, 2021 at 5:28:43 PM

  37. Jeanne Jennings lit a candle:
    24 May 2021
    Lit since May 24, 2021 at 5:46:17 PM

  38. Charlene Manieri lit a candle:
    24 May 2021
    Lit since May 24, 2021 at 5:37:58 PM

  39. Janice Rocnwelk says:
    24 May 2021
    Love and Hugs. May his name always be for a blessing.

    Janice and Will Rockwell

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