Casimira (Cassy) Zak

Cassy Zak, age 100, died peacefully at the home she shared with her daughter, retired FSO Marilyn Zak, in Alexandria, VA. She was under the care of Capital Caring, a hospice service, and died of Alzheimer’s. Mrs. Zak was born April 20, 1912 in Chicago, Il. After becoming a Register Nurse, she worked at Cook County Hospital. When asked who was her most famous patient, she would smile and say “Al Capone. He was very good to the nurses and gave out $20 bills and chocolates to us.” Quite something during the Depression. In 1937 she married Robert A Zak, and in 1947 would move with her husband and two children, Robert T and Marilyn, to Everett Washington where she worked for more than 30 years as a nurse at Providence Hospital. Mrs. Zak helped establish the nurses association at the hospital, was active in civil defense activities and the guild of her church. When Marilyn first joined USAID in 1966, Cassy and her husband were devoted parents to their traveling daughter. They first visited her in Asuncion Paraguay. After the death of her husband in 1988, Mrs. Zak would visit her daughter who was then Deputy Director in Kingston, Jamaica for a month each year at Christmas to enjoy tropical weather and to dance the soca until early hours of the morning. When Marilyn was Mission Director in the Dominican Republic, she added the merengue and salsa to her dancing. Before the end of Marilyn’s tour, Cassy would come to live with her daughter. Mrs. Zak accompanied her daughter during her tour as Mission Director in Managua, Nicaragua from 1998 to 2002. Cassy was a lively participant in diplomatic life, USAID activities, and helped the victims of Hurricane Mitch. Mrs. Zak would celebrate her 90th birthday in Managua at home with with pink balloons everywhere and a Mariachi band. In June 2002 Cassy returned to the US to live with her daughter before Marilyn’s retirement in 2003. Cassy continued her love of dancing, and her daughter’s 95th birthday present to her was 2 one hour dance lessons with a very good looking Brazilian dance instructor, named Fabio, at the local dance studio. During her illness, Cassy never lost her sweetness or kindness to others. Cassy was buried July 13th next to her husband and sister in Everett Washington. Survivors include her daughter, a son and daughter-in-law in Vancouver WA, 2 grandsons, and 2 great grandchildren.
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