Zoltan L. Pope

July 13, 1925 ~ February 23, 2020 (age 94)


Zoltan Louis (Zook) Pope, 94, of Red Bank, NJ passed away peacefully at home at the Atrium in Red Bank, NJ on Sunday, February 23, 2020 just days after celebrating the 67th anniversary of marriage to his loving wife Mary. In 1952 his sister Anne had introduced him to Mary, whom he married on Valentine’s Day 1953. The Popes had been 51-year residents of Westfield, NJ.

Zook was the last remaining of nine children, born in 1925 in Sabraton, West Virginia, to John and Anna Popp, Hungarians who had immigrated through Ellis Island. A star high school athlete and scholar, after graduating from Rahway High School he had joined the U.S. Merchant Marines, earning an Honorable Discharge for transporting troops and materials into the European Theater combat zone during World War II. He continued as a merchant seaman for another ten years after the war, holding a Master’s License and attaining the rank of Second Officer. Once ashore, he resumed his studies at Union County Junior College and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in prelaw at Rutgers, where he was salutatorian, with three children, studying at night while building a second career with Ford Motor Company. With Ford he advanced from line Superintendent to Assistant Plant Manager at the Edison (Metuchen) Assembly Plant before retiring in 1991.

Always active, Zook and Mary enjoyed many games of tennis at Westfield Tennis Club and Platform Tennis at Echo Lake Country Club, but especially golf at ELCC and many clubs around the world. Always the master, Zook took home many golf trophies from ELCC, highlighted by Senior’s and President’s Cup championships, as well as giving back to the sport as a course rater with the NJSGA. In later years his game was pool, regularly entertaining other residents of the Atrium with his evening pick-up games. His studious nature showed through when, at age 90, he picked up a paintbrush to produce a series of watercolor landscapes expert enough to be featured in one-man shows.

He is survived by his wife, Mary; daughter, Susan (Peter) Van Deventer of Eatontown, NJ, Winston-Salem NC, and Houston TX; and sons William Zoltan Pope of Milton FL, Jonathan Runyon (Tina) Pope of New Orleans LA, and Kenneth Michael (Bruno) Pope of Cerro al Lambro, Italy; grandchildren Meghan Stiffler, Alissa Floyd, Peter Van Deventer, and Hadley Pope; six great-grandchildren; many nieces and nephews; and a tremendous number of friends.

A private military graveside service will be held at the Burial Grounds of the Presbyterian Church in the West Fields of Elizabethtown. In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to Union County College Fund 1033 Springfield Ave. Cranford, N.J. 07016 A memorial service will be held at a later date.
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