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Edward John Zielinski

October 8, 1929 ~ October 19, 2020 (age 91)

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SALEM – Mr. Edward J. Zielinski, a lifelong resident of Salem, born on October 8th, 1929, passed away peacefully on October 19th, 2020 at the age of 91. 

He is survived by Dolores (Sterling) Zielinski, his soulmate for 63 years, his beloved sister, Jane Koza, his cherished children and their spouses, Michael (Fran), Steven (Nelda) and Ellen (Peter), his adored granddaughter, Rosa, sister-in-law Ellen Cloud, brother-in-law, Walter Sterling III and nieces and nephews, John Koza (Janet), David Koza (Amy), Jack Cloud, Lori Cloud and Walter Sterling IV (Meghan).

Ed was the son of immigrants, John and Jozefa (Draminska) Zielinski, as his parents came to America from Poland in the 1920's. He honored his heritage by observing many Polish holiday traditions and was always ready to have another paczki.

He went to Salem High School and graduated from the Massachusetts Maritime Academy in 1950. In the 1960's he obtained two degrees in Education from Salem State College and pursued a dual career as an educator and mariner. During the academic year he served in the Salem Public School system and during the summer he shipped out in the Merchant Marine. He traveled the world, guiding cargo ships to Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East and South America. He was an active member of the Masters, Mates and Pilots union, still attending the union’s annual holiday party at the age of 90, eager to scoop up union swag.

During the war in Korea, he served on Merchant Marine ships that ran supplies to the military. He was a veteran of the Navy, obtaining the rank of Lieutenant Commander and serving in the Naval Reserve for many years.

He started his career in education as a math and science teacher in elementary schools, became a Guidance Counselor and was chosen to lead the Witchcraft Heights Elementary School as its very first Principal when it opened in 1972. He made significant contributions to the education of thousands of students. The city of Salem honored his contributions by renaming a neighborhood street, Zielinski Way, following his retirement in 1995.

He did more in retirement than most people attempt in a lifetime. Ed and Dolores traveled the world from San Francisco and London to Sydney and Vienna. Ed served on and helped lead numerous civic boards and organizations, ranging from the Salem Credit Union to the Mass Maritime Alumni Association. He was a faithful parishioner at St. John the Baptist Polish Catholic Church in Salem. He was a regular volunteer at road races benefiting the Salem Boys and Girls Club. Every Thanksgiving he served as a Race Marshal at the Wild Turkey Five K Race, showing runners the way from his post at the Willows, completing his last volunteer assignment at the age of ninety.

Ed and Dolores loved attending cultural events and rarely missed a concert at the Willows or a performance of the Salem Philharmonic. They enjoyed countless productions at the North Shore Music Theater. They both kept engaged and informed through classes with the Explorers Lifelong Learning program.

Ed loved the sea. His happiest times were spent with family at the beach, including regular excursions to Virginia Beach, VA; Cape May, NJ and the Salem Willows.

He had a deep love for family and community and actively cheered on all Boston sports teams. He regularly loaded up the car with family members to head into Fenway Park and the Boston Garden to root for the Red Sox and Celtics. Every Patriots Day he would be at the Boston Marathon. He also had a passion for horseracing. Throughout his life he could be found on Saturday afternoons picking winners at Suffolk Downs. He lived his life with energy, purpose and integrity, enriching the lives of all his many colleagues, shipmates, friends and family members.

ARRANGEMENTS: Relatives and friends are invited to visiting hours at O’Donnell - Cremations – Funerals – Celebrations, 84 Washington Sq., Salem, MA 01970, Thursday, Oct. 22nd from 4 to 7 P.M. All attendees are required to wear face coverings, practice social distancing and are respectfully asked for no physical contact with the family. Burial in St Mary’s Cemetery, Salem is private. A public celebration of Ed’s life and accomplishments will be held in the spring of 2021. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the Boys and Girls Club of Salem, MA at and in honor of Edward Zielinski at the Witchcraft Heights Scholarship Fund C/O Jeannine Ofilios, 21 Buena Vista Avenue, Salem, MA 01970. Sharing written remembrances and condolences during this time will be essential in helping Ed’s family reminisce, celebrate and heal. We encourage you to share your memories by visiting his eternal tribute at

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Edward John Zielinski, please visit our floral store.


October 22, 2020

4:00 PM to 7:00 PM
The O'Donnell Funeral Home
84 Washington Square
Salem, MA 01970

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