December 31, 1921 – July 25, 2020

 

Donald Edwin “Ed” Zins, age 98, of St. Cloud, passed away peacefully at his home on July 25, 2020. Mass of Christian burial celebrating the life of Ed will be at 10:30 am, Thursday,July 30th, at the Church of the Holy Spirit in St. Cloud, MN. A visitation will be held on Wednesday,July29th, at the Miller-Carlin Funeral Home in St. Cloud from 4-7pm. There will also be a visitation from 9:30 am-10:30am onThursday, before the funeral mass at Holy Spirit Church. Social distancing and masks will be required at the funeral home and church. Burial with full military honors will be in the Minnesota State Veteran’s Cemetery in Little Falls.

Ed was born December 31, 1921 in Melrose, MN. He grew up in St. Cloud, MN after his family moved there in 1925.After graduating from St. Cloud Tech high school in 1939, Ed attended St. John’s University until his college education was interrupted by World War II. He enlisted in the Army Air Corps and served as a B-25 navigator/bombardier while flying 43 missions in the south Pacific. After the war, he continued his service in the Air Force Reserve as a C-119 and C-130 navigator until he retired as a Lt. Colonel in 1972.

Ed returned to college after the war and finished his degree at St. John’s in 1947 where he also participated in baseball, football, track and served as captain of the hockey team. He later obtained his Master’s degree from St. Cloud State University.

Ed married Audrey Wicklund from St. Cloud on January 23, 1948. They were married for 70 years until Audrey’s passing in 2018. They raised six children and especially enjoyed spending summers at the family cabin that Ed built on Briggs Lake. In 1980, Ed retired from teaching and coaching at Edina High School and they returned to their hometown of St. Cloud where Ed built their retirement home.

Ed was a lifelong teacher and coach. He began his career in Browerville, MN in 1948. He then moved on to Morris, MN and Melrose, MN until 1958 when he was offered his mathematics teaching and various coaching positions at Edina High School.

Throughout his lifetime, Ed was an avid participant and coach in a variety of sports. He coached 40 years of high school sports, including hockey, football, baseball, basketball and track. After his 23 years at Edina, Ed retired and returned to St. Cloud where he coached another 8 years of hockey and football at Apollo High School.

In addition to being an educator, Ed was an architect, homebuilder, electrician andalso a professional photographer early in his career. Ed’s number one interest in life was his family. There was nothing he enjoyed more than being with them and doing things for them. Additional interests included woodworking, carpentry, electrical work, reading, model railroading, computers, puzzles, writing, genealogy, winemaking and hosting happy hour with family and friends in his home.

Ed was a member of the Edina Athletic Hall of Fame, MN High School Hockey Coaches Hall of Fame, St. Cloud Hockey/Skating Wall of Fame, former St. Cloud Youth Hockey-Coach in Charge, World War II Honor Flight Participant, VFW Post 428, American Legion Post 428, Knights or Columbus, Retired Air Force Officer’s Assn., MN High School 25 Year Coaches Club and Holy Spirit Catholic Church. He was also the recipient of the Edina Outstanding Teacher Award in 1979-80.

One of the highlights of Ed’s life in recent years was the Veteran’s Day trip he took with his entire family to see the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Ed is survived by children, Larry (Betty) Zins of St. Joseph, Bob (Shelley) Zins of St. Cloud, Mary (Tom) Klis of St. Cloud, Jane (Gregg) Lukoskie of St. Cloud, Jim (Lori) Zins of St. Cloud, Polly (Jack) Gregor of Monticello; 12 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren. He is also survived by his sister, Jeanne Weisbrich of St. Cloud.

Ed was preceded in death by his parents, Alphonse and Vera Kleber Zins, stepfather Lennie Werner, sisters Lorraine Gaetz and Arlene Friederichs.

The family would like to thank the staff ofthe CentraCareHospiceProgram and the Visiting Angels for the loving care they have shown to Ed and his family in recent weeks.

In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to the VFW Post 428 in St. Cloud.