Date of Birth
Date of Death
RUDOLPH G. ZAKAge 75, of Elburn, passed away unexpectedly, early Monday morning, July 3, 2006 at Delnor Community Hospital, Geneva, where he was taken following a sudden collapse at his home. BORN / EARLY YEARSHe was born July 12, 1930, in Chicago, IL. His parents Peter and Barbara "Betty" (Kasal) Kopecky were native Czechoslovakians and "Rudy" grew up the Czech neighborhoods around Tilden High School. He first met Nancy Blaha at Sokol, a Czech gymnastics organization where both made many life-long friendships. Neither knew it then, but they were destined for each other. After high school, Rudy briefly attended the University of Illinois, Chicago, before enlisting in the U.S. Navy. As a child, his favorite pass-time was taking pictures. It was a hobby that paid off when the Navy discovered his talent and made him the ship’s photographer for the USS Newport News. During his tour of duty, Rudy was privileged to tour dozens of foreign countries where he took thousands of beautiful pictures. Recalling them years later, he would encourage his grandchildren to tour the world and see the beauty that is everywhere. Returning home in 1954, he was catching up with old friends in Sokol at a New Years Eve Dance when he spotted Nancy again. The little girl he once thought a "nuisance", had grown up while he was away, and now captivated his attention. On January 14, 1956, they were wed at The Church of St. Augustine, Chicago and a life-time romance began. Rudy was a devoted husband and father. He and Nancy moved to Lombard, shortly after the birth of their first child, Robert; Jean, William and James would follow. Rudy coached Little League in Lombard for a number of years and was always involved in his children’s pursuits. That devotion would continue and even rise a notch when Rudy became a grandpa. Patient listening and a loving heart endeared him deeply to the next generation. His working years were spent in commercial photography where he became a partner in the Martin Trlak Company, Chicago. Rudy’s work was highly regarded and in the 1970’s, he stepped out on his own as simply, Rudy Zak Photography, Chicago. About the same time, he moved his family to West Chicago, IL where they made their home until the 1990’s, when they moved west to the Elburn area. Along the way, Rudy and Nancy raised Gordon Setters and enjoyed traveling to trials and shows around the country. Hunting and fishing were Rudy’s favorite pastimes. Trips to Canada, catching Coho Salmon in Lake Michigan and hunting pheasants at the Richmond Hunt Club, were not only great sport, but the birthplace of many good friends and great stories. Rudy and Nancy also camped with their family throughout the northwestern states. SURVIVORS Rudy is survived by his wife Nancy of Elburn; Four children: Robert (Alice) Zak of Carol Stream, ILJean Zak of Bourbonnais, ILBill (Tatia) Zak of Dacula, GA, Jim (Kim) Zak of Fuquayvarina, NC,Eight grandchildren: (Robert and Alice’) Valerie (Brett) Amen of Carol Stream, IL,Andrew (Jaimee) Schackmann of Aurora, IL andKatie Zak of Carol Stream, IL;(Bill and Tatia’s)Tyler and Ryan Zak;(Jim and Kim’s)Annissa, Jimmy and DavidOne sister-in-law:Geri Smith of Bourbonnais, IL,One brother-in-law: Tom Blaha of Chicago Ridge, ILSeveral nieces and nephews: James Jaros, Susanne Zak, Michael Jaros, Carol Baskas and Patsy Blaha;A "family" of life-long friends and a legacy of thousands of photographs among millions of timeless memories. PRECEDED He is preceded in death by his parents: Peter and Barbara "Betty" (Kasal) Kopecky.MEMORIAL A memorial has been established in Rudy’s name. Memorials checks may be made to the Rudy Zak Memorial and mailed in care of P.O. Box 66, Elburn, IL 60119. Tributes and memories may also be forwarded to the family at the same address or through his obituary at www.conleycare.com.
Friends may call at visitation hours, Saturday, July 8, 2006, from 10am to1:30pm. Funeral services will follow at 2pm and conclude with military honors at the funeral home.
Following cremation, committal services will be held at Garfield Cemetery, Campton Twp., IL. Time and date are pending. Please call Conley Funeral Home at 800-8-CONLEY or visit