Kathleen Louise Major Zelesnikar, 71
Kathleen was taken directly to the Almighty Father on Eagle’s Wings , at home with her family by her side May 17, 2020. Kathleen was only known to every child that ever came into her life as Bema. Named by her first grandchild, Jordan, Bema’s life on this earth was truly to make your life better. Kathleen “Kathy” was born September 3, 1949 in Johnson City, NY to George and Pauline Major. She attended St. James Parochial School and was a 1967 honor graduate of Catholic Central High School in Binghamton, NY. After finishing high school, she entered the Charles S. Wilson School of Nursing, graduating with honors in 1970. Prior to graduation, she married her true soul mate, Air Force Chief Master Sergeant Arthur H. Zelesnikar on December 20, 1969. Surrounded by loving family and friends, they just celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. Her life as a military spouse has taken her to many places where nursing challenges offered her many opportunities. She tackled all of those while supporting her husbands’ military career and raising three amazing children. In Maine, she was awarded the Red Cross Volunteer of the Year in 1976. In 1989, Kathy was the 52nd. Tactical Fighter Wing’s Nominee for the Joan Orr Air Force Wife of the Year Award. She has worked as an Orthopedic Charge nurse, OBGYN Labor & Delivery, Medical/Surgical and Pediatrics. But her true passion came in nursing when she moved back to Rome, NY after four years in Germany as the Military Base Chapel Religious Education Coordinator. Her true calling in nursing came however, when Kathy answered an ad for a new doctor in town, Dr. Atul Butala, MD who was looking for a nurse. Twenty-one years later, Kathy retired as a New York State Board-Certified Oncology Nurse and Dr. Butala’s office manager. After retiring, Kathy joined the Arc, Oneida-Lewis Chapter Guardianship Committee as a committee member and medical nursing consultant supporting adult men and women with special needs. She was an active member of the Oneida Area Civic Chorale where she enjoyed singing and wonderful fellowship. Kathy is survived by her adoring husband of fifty years, Arthur, children- Theresa Hopkins, Scott & Colette Zelesnikar and Jennifer & Michael Zalepeski; grandchildren – Jordan, Jessica, Johnny Michael, Caden, Megan, Emi and Hana; light of her life, great-granddaughter Summer; special nieces Kathleen (Rusty) Stoughton, Maureen (Randy) Squier, and Goddaughter Colleen, her Colla (Patrick) Smith, other nieces and nephews, several cousins and her loving & devoted sister, Carol Major Hall and brothers Kenneth (Anne) and Gary Binkiewicz. Kathy was pre-deceased by her parents, George and Pauline Major, adored brother-in-law, Gary Hall and special cousin, George “Nick” Dudik. Through all of Kathy’s life’s adventures and her many selfless career accomplishments, Kathy’s greatest joy was being an amazing mother and devoted Bema. Nothing filled her heart with as much joy as a full house of all her kids for any holiday. She will be greeted by the family gone before her and a choir of angels of all the people she helped here on Earth. The family would like to extend their sincerest thank you to Drs. Atul and Amita Butala, Dr. Desai, her friends in nursing- “The Fabulous Four”- Becky, Nancy, Diana and Jackie, and the nurses and staff at Hospice & Palliative Care for Oneida, Herkimer & Eastern Madison counties, for their gentle and loving care of Kathy. Arrangements are by The J.F. Rice Funeral Home, Inc. 150 Main Street-Johnson City, New York. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Kathy’s favorite charity, St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. Due to the Covid Virus the Family held a private service. Burial was in Calvary Cemetery.
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