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Brigadier General John "Jack" J.'s Story

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Brigadier General John (Jack) J. Zito, USAF Retired, passed away peacefully on September 4, 2016 surrounded by his family.
Jack was born in Troy, N.Y. on March 25, 1928, the only child of Damian Zito and Margaret O’Connor. He graduated from Catholic Central High School in Troy, N.Y. Immediately upon graduation, he enlisted in the Marines and served at the end of WWII and during the Korean Conflict. Upon returning stateside from Korea, he attained his private pilot’s license. He married Edna Castle of Wynantskill, N.Y. in 1951. The couple moved to Miami, where Jack attended the University of Miami on the GI Bill and graduated with a BA in Business in 1955. However, prior to graduation, he seized the opportunity to enroll in flight school with the Florida Air National Guard (FANG) and pursued advanced training at Webb AFB in Big Spring, TX and Luke AFB in Glendale, Ariz. in 1956.
Jack returned to Florida to serve with FANG. In 1960, he was hired by Northeast Airlines, which was later acquired by Delta. He flew as an airline captain for 28 years while also serving in the New Hampshire Air National Guard (NHANG) at Grenier Field in Manchester and later at Pease Air Field in Greenland. In the Guard, he was affectionately known at “Zip”. Jack served during WWII, the Korean Conflict and was active duty for the Cold War and Vietnam. In 1981, he was promoted to Brigadier General and in 1985 assigned as Mobilization Assistant to the 12th Air Force Commander, headquartered at Bergstrom AFB, Austin, Texas.
In addition to his military education, Jack earned a Masters in public administration from Golden Gate University in 1979. He considered himself most fortunate that his vocation was his avocation. He was an avid floatplane pilot and participated in many fly-ins. Recognizing only Jack’s military and commercial flying time, he accumulated nearly 40,000 flight hours – truly a remarkable achievement.
Throughout his lifetime, he served on several boards of directors but was most proud of his role in establishing the NH State Veterans Cemetery in Boscawen.
Jack is survived by Edna, his loving wife of 65 years, and four children, Lynn Fawcett of Chester, N.H., Gregory of Austin, Texas, Shawn (married to Marcia Fanaras) of Weare, N.H. and Kimberly Pillsbury (married to Steven Pillsbury) of Oakhurst, N.J. His grandchildren are Tamara Fawcett Rhodes (Harrisburg, Pa.), Courtney Fawcett Joyner (Kernersville, N.C.), Rory Fawcett (Lowell, Mass.), Tanner Zito and Haley Zito (Weare, N.H.), and Samantha Pillsbury and Nicholas Pillsbury (Oakhurst, N.J.). His first great-grandchild is expected in October.
A full military honors burial was held at N.H. State Veterans Cemetery. In honor of Jack’s legacy as a veteran, memorial donations to the NH State Veterans Cemetery Association are appreciated. Please send donations to P.O. Box 626, Concord, NH 03302 earmarked “Veterans Heritage Learning Center” or online at https://nhvca.org/donate. For more information go to www.peabodyfuneralhome.com.
Published on  September 15, 2016
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