Joseph Raymond Zsigray, Jr., 61, of Toledo, died unexpectedly abroad on Tuesday January 28, 2014, while at his second home in Belize. Joe was born in Martins Ferry, Ohio, January 19, 1953, to Joseph and Doris (nee Jackson), Zsigray.
Joe grew up in Elyria and attended Divine Heart Seminary in Donaldson, Indiana, but ultimately graduated from Midview High School. Joe loved life, people and music. He was a self-taught musician from an early age and played numerous instruments over the years, including the piano and guitar. He was one of the first liturgical composers after the Roman Catholic Mass returned to the local vernacular in the 1960s. He published over a hundred works, including five full-length albums. Joe was very involved in the arts and started a non-profit organization in Elyria called “Project Joy” in the 1980s. When he moved to the Toledo area in the 1990s, he immersed himself in the art community once again, eventually becoming the Executive Director of the Collingwood Arts Center, home to many artists. To pay his meager rent, he taught music and other lively arts throughout Ohio, Michigan and Indiana. About three years ago, he started traveling to Belize, where he donated his time and his instruments to the primary school children in nearby villages. He taught the students how to play the ukulele, harmonica and the mountain dulcimer, which he built. When he wasn’t teaching, writing or making music, he found pleasure in playing blackjack and poker and occasionally juggling coconuts on the beach. He had hoped to make Belize his permanent home in the near future. He was a folksy type of guy with a gypsy soul and a gentle nature. He probably hadn’t bought a new suit since the 80s and would have been content to wear sandals the rest of his life. Joe was loved by many people, young and old, near and far. He was truly one of a kind and will be greatly missed.
Joe is survived by his mother, Doris Zsigray of Elyria; his beloved fiancee, Jennie Migliori (children, Felicia and Angelo) of Toledo; his only daughter, Jamie Lynne Turner (Nathan) of Lakewood; and his four sons, Robert Zsigray of Elyria, Don Zsigray of Galion, Tim Zsigray of Elyria and David Zsigray of Amherst; three grandsons, Christopher and Noel Herakovic (Jamie) of Lakewood and Ethan Christian Zsigray (Don) of Galion; siblings, John Zsigray (Jeanne) of Glenville, West Virginia, Mike Zsigray of Louisville, Kentucky, Sharon Sprouse (Rick) of LaGrange, Bill Zsigray of Elyria, Patricia Zsigray of Elyria and Rich (Julie) Zsigray of Elyria. He also had a host of nieces, nephews and cousins. He was preceded in death by his father, Joseph in 2002.
The family will receive friends Monday, February 17, 2014, from 1 P.M., until the time of a Memorial Service at 3 P.M., at the Laubenthal-Mercado Funeral Home and Cremation Service, 38475 Chestnut Ridge Rd. (at State Rt. 57), Elyria. The Reverend Father Charles Diedrick, Pastor of St. Mary Catholic Church and Pastor Ervin Jones of the Fuller Road Community Church, will officiate.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to the American Heart Assc., 1689 East 115th St., Cleveland, OH 44106-3988 or to the American Diabetes Foundation, P.O. Box 11454, Alexandria, VA 22312.
Online condolences may be expressed at www.laubenthalmercado.com