Donald “Gene” Zahn

April 17, 1932 ‒ January 14, 2021

Prospect, Ohio
Formerly of Marion, Ohio

Donald “Gene” Zahn, age 88, of Marion, died peacefully on Thursday, January 14, 2021 surrounded by his loving family at the home of his granddaughter, following an extended illness.

On April 17, 1932, Gene was born in Marion, Ohio, the son of the late Robert D. and Lela (Flanders) Zahn.  He graduated from Marion Harding High School in the class of 1951.

Immediately after graduation, Gene enlisted to serve his beloved country in the US Navy, a veteran of the Korean War.  He served as an aviation metal smith and always spoke highly of Corpus Christie and was honorably discharged from Kingsville, TX in 1959 as an Airman.  Gene was awarded the National Defense Service Medal.

Upon his discharge, he returned home to Marion, and quickly found work as a railroad conductor.  He worked for forty years for both the Erie Lackawanna Railroad and Conrail, until his retirement in 1994.  There, he found many of his lifelong friends.

Gene had been a member of the VFW Post 7201, the American Legion and the Elks Lodge 32 in Marion and the Moose Lodge #1533 in Indian Lake.

A jack of all trades, there was not much that Gene Zahn couldn’t do.  Over the years, he built many things, including his own barn.  He also rebuilt and remodeled much of his house.  He enjoyed building small replica model cars, finding a good deal at garage sales and could be found at just about all of the local auctions.

Most important of all to Gene was his family, whom he would do anything for.  He especially loved going to all of the events and ball games of his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  Gene also drove bus tireless hours for the Marion Cadets from 1972-1978.  He was a proud member of the Marion Cadets Alumni.  He took great pride in watching his children “take the field” every weekend all over the Midwest and East Coast.

Gene will be remembered for his smart-aleck antics, his stubbornness, his cheesy fake smile, his favorite word “huh?” and his signature thumb and 2-finger wave. He was always known for releasing his granddaughters from “time-out” against their mothers’ wishes.  The words “Pool is a game of skill, not strength!” resounds in all of the grandkids’ heads still to this day.  He would be quick to take a ruler to a “biter’s” hands but was ready to follow up with his clippers in his pocket.  You could always smell the Aquanet from a mile away.  He was also the only Navy Vet we have ever met that cannot swim but bought multiple boats and loved being out on the water.

He will be missed by his three children: Kathy (Ronald) Young, James “Tim” Zahn, and Lisa Zahn; seven grandchildren: Ashley (John III “Trey”) Hickman, Whitney Young, Brittany and Brandon Zahn, Katie (Allen “Sam”) Abrams, Kristina (Keith) Hoffee, and Kelli Schurch; ten great-grandchildren: Alexiya and Corebyn Jones, John IV and Brooklyn Hickman, Veronica and Payton Young, Sophia and Evelyn Abrams, and Braydin and Trinity Hoffee; a sister, Patricia Eiselt; and several nieces and nephews.

Including his parents, Gene was preceded in death by his sister, Barbara Jean, shortly after her birth.

Please join us from 4-7 p.m. on Tuesday, January 19, 2021, in your best BUCKEYES gear at the Snyder Funeral Homes, DENZER Chapel, 360 E Center St., Marion.  Services honoring Gene’s life will be held at his graveside in Marion Cemetery at 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday, January 20, 2021, with Pastor Josh Freshour officiating.  Military honors by the Marion County United Veterans Council will be observed privately by his family.

Memorial contributions may be made to Heartland Hospice or the Marion Veterans Association, and they may be sent to the care of the funeral home.

His family would like to extend a heartfelt “Thank You” to all of his Heartland Hospice nurses and aides for being amazing with Gene during the end of his life.  Also, to the Marion VA for the countless contribution of equipment to help him continue a normal life even when his body didn’t want to help him.  To all of the amazing friends that he met along his journey; you all meant the world to him.  Finally, to Josh Freshour and his family, for always being “on call” for us through this difficult time.

Snyder Funeral Homes, Denzer Chapel, are honored to serve Gene’s family and your condolences may be share with them via

  • Gene is a wonderful man. I’ve know him for many years now and he will be greatly miss. Prayers for all the family and our hearts are with you.

  • To the family of Gene Zahn my prayers are with you at this difficult time. He was a wonderful man. He will be missed. To Ashley and Trey and your wonderful kids my heart is breaking for you. Love you all.

  • I knew Mr. Zahn from my membership in the Marion Cadets Drum and Bugle Corps, for which he drove bus for several years. Gene, like most of our parents in those days, was a very avid supporter of the drum corps and was right there with us in our competitive travels around the USA and Canada. I thought he was a very nice gentleman with a great sense of humor. He would do anything to help the young people in the Cadets, his neighbors and friends, and I think it’s safe to say that Gene’s generous nature was passed along to his children. My I extend my deepest sympathies to all of Gene’s family and loved ones, and I pray that your fondest memories of him will help see you through this difficult time. Now and Forever!

  • So sorry to hear the passing of Mr. Zahn. He was a friend of my parents. You all are in my thoughts and prayers.

  • Mr. Zahn was a funny guy, Great bus driver for the Cadets. I enjoyed speaking with him at the Cadet Reunions.
    My Condolences to the family.

  • My condolences to the family. I remember Mr. Zahn on so many Cadet trips. Love and prayers to the family. 💔💔💔

  • Gene was a nice guy . I met him through his son Tim. I did some satellite work for him. He used to work with my dad at the railroad. May he rest in peace. God bless his family.

  • So sorry to hear of Gene’s passing. I too remember him from The Marion Cadets Drum & Bugle Corps. Saying goodbye to our parents is never easy, and our condolences and prayers are with the family.

  • Gene was my neighbor for 13 years, I learned a lot from Gene, he always had advice for projects I was doing around my house, he could show me how to do things faster and easier. I was a 21 year old kid, always had the tool I needed. My condolences to the family

  • Gene was a very positive influence on my father, George Shoup, whose opinion and conversation dad cherished. They worked together on the railroad for many years and helped each other on off-work hours during their home life in Marion. Gene’s family was also wonderful with my father. Gene used to say that he especially enjoyed working with my father when they were on the same railroad crew. They talked frequently on the phone during their retirement years but Gene commented that George was restless if he dare called during Jeopardy. RIP Gene.