Rodger J. Zielinski, age 50, of Lake Villa, Illinois, passed away after a courageous and valiant battle with cancer Friday, May 22, 2020, at home surrounded by his family.
Rodger was born January 7, 1970, in Chicago, Illinois to Roger and Carol (Even) Zielinski. He grew up and attended school in Chicago, graduating from Gordon Tech, and completing technical school at Wyoming Tech. You could always find Rodger in a garage somewhere. Where there were cars, there was Rodger.
Rodger married Kimberly (nee Rosenfeld) October 11, 1996, in Des Plaines, Illinois. They have three daughters, Kaleigh Zielinski, Kassidy (Tommy) Gallimore, and Kamryn Zielinski.
Rodger was a loyal employee for 30 years at Autohaus on Edens in Northbrook, Illinois, where he was Shop Foreman as well as a Master Technician for Mercedes Benz. He also ran the dealership’s Roadside Assistance department for two decades.
His life truly revolved around his “girls”—his wife of 23 years and their three daughters . . . and racing. Rodger’s love of racing was known to all that knew him. You could often find him at the racetrack as both driver and spectator. When his oldest daughter turned eight, they pursued Junior Dragsters and raced locally as often as they could. His second daughter joined them when she turned eight. Rodger was truly in his element being the Crew Chief for his girls while his wife bit her nails to the skin assisting and watching.
Junior Dragsters came to an end when Rodger found himself in kidney failure and needing a kidney. On December 28, 2010, his wife Kimberly donated one her kidneys to him and the transplant was very successful. He enjoyed six, glorious years of no medical issues before he was diagnosed with multiple myeloma and stage IV colorectal cancer in 2017. Rodger took every single chemotherapy treatment available to him and 28 rounds of radiation like a true warrior—still going in to work while fighting. He was the hardest working man—and a shining example—to his daughters as well as anyone who was blessed to know him. He was the best basketball dad and cheerleading dad, always supporting his daughters 100% in everything they wanted to do!
Rodger is survived by his loving wife of 23 years, Kimberly; daughters, Kaleigh Zielinski of Lake Villa, Kassidy (Tommy) Gallimore of Ingleside, Illinois, and Kamryn Zielinski of Lake Villa; parents, Roger and Carol (nee Even) Zielinski of Lake Villa; brothers, Michael (Donna) Zielinski of Roselle, Illinois and Steven (Shelley) Zielinski of Chicago; mother-in-law, Gale Rosenfeld of Spring Hill, Florida; sister-in-law, Jennifer Dickson of Chicago; nephews, Collin and Jacob; nieces, Paige, Holly, Ashley, Samantha, and Jordan; great-nephew, Jameson Paret; as well as many aunts, uncles, cousins, and amazing friends who treated him like family.
He is preceded in death by his grandparents, Frank and Frances Even and Valerian and Anna Zielinski; uncles, Frank Even and Ronald Zielinski; and aunts, Diane Liss and Barbara Wireman.
A Celebration of Life will be held Sunday, June 28, from noon-4 p.m., outside at Parkway by the Lake, 25212 Lake Shore Drive, Ingleside. Social distancing guidelines will be followed. Please contact family for more detailed information on Celebration.
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