Follow us

Obituary for Richard J. Zukowski

March 6, 1945 – September 1, 2023

Richard J. Zukowski, 78, passed away peacefully on Sept. 1, 2023, after a tough battle with cancer. He will be deeply missed by all of the family and friends who knew him.

Richard J. Zukowski
Richard J. Zukowski

Born on March 6, 1945, to John and Rosina Zukowski, in Kenosha, he continued building their family legacy as a lifetime Kenosha resident. Rich attended and graduated from St. Joseph High School, spent six years in the Army Reserves and began a career at American Motors as a Master Mechanic.

On Nov. 15, 1969, he married the love of his life, Donna M. Emmett, in St. George Catholic Church. Together, Rich and Donna raised two daughters, Elsa (Zukowski) Weller (Russ) and Jill Zukowski (Matt White), creating cherished memories alongside their beloved family dogs, embarking on road trips, and finding solace in their beloved vacation spot, Door County, Wis. Rich later transitioned into a second career as a custodian within the Kenosha Unified School District, culminating in his well-earned retirement in 2007.

Richard J. Zukowski will be remembered for his passion for many things. In his earlier years, he enjoyed bicycle racing at the Kenosha Velodrome, fowl hunting and trap shooting, for which he earned a “100 Straight.” Rich was a lifetime member of the NRA as well as the Wisconsin Sportsman Association. He had a collector’s heart, collecting various things such as coins and beer bottle caps, and was a loyal fan of the Green Bay Packers, the Milwaukee Brewers and the Tennessee Volunteers (where his nephew, Jimmy Delaney (Jackie) graduated from and built his life). But above all, Rich was best known for passionately promoting the merits of Ford, AMC and classic cars to anyone who would lend an ear.

Rich’s greatest love, surpassing even his adoration for Fords, fishing, and the Green Bay Packers, was his family. Two of his most cherished hobbies were shared with his daughters’ significant others. Russ holds a special place for Rich as “his best fishin’ buddy,” and whenever Rich and Matt came together, conversations about cars naturally ensued. Beyond being a devoted husband and a dedicated father, Rich was an engaged and loving grandfather to Elizabeth (Tindall) Gorr, Aaron Pfaff (Elana), and Alyssa Zukowski, later earning the endearing title of “Great Papa” to Leland and Hallie Gorr.

Rich devoted countless years to attending their bicycle races, recitals, games, concerts and birthday parties, always bringing his humor, care and vast network of connections within the Kenosha community. In addition to his previously mentioned relatives, he will forever be cherished as a brother to Kathleen; uncle to Shawn, Jimmy, and Shannon; a great-uncle, and a friend.


A Mass of Christian Burial for Richard J. Zukowski will be celebrated at 10 a.m. on Sept. 7 at St. Elizabeth Catholic Church. Relatives and friends are asked to meet at the church for Mass. A visitation will take place from 5 to 7 p.m. on Sept. 6 at the Draeger-Langendorf Funeral Home. Private interment will be held in St. Casimir Cemetery.

Obituary and photo of Richard J. Zukowski courtesy of Draeger-Langendorf Funeral Home.

Local News

The Racine County Eye, which includes the Kenosha Lens, is your source for local news that serves our diverse communities. Subscribe today to stay up-to-date with local news.

Follow us on Facebook: Racine County Eye or Kenosha Lens, and Twitter to make sure you get the latest news.

Racine County Eye, Kenosha Lens banner