STEVEN GEORGE ZILKA
August 24, 1959 – August 28, 2020
Steven George Zilka, age 61, a lifelong Park Rapids/Two Inlets, MN resident, peacefully passed into the splendor of Heaven on Friday evening, August 28, 2020 at the Essentia Health Medical Center in Fargo, North Dakota.
Steve was born as the 11th of 13th children to Simon and Dorothy (Liebl) Zilka on August 24, 1959 at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Park Rapids. He grew up on his parent’s farm near Two Inlets, MN. He began his public schooling education at Nevis for a few years prior to enrolling in the Park Rapids Special education program from where he graduated with the Class of 1980. As a young man, Steve enjoyed gaining employment at the Hubbard County DAC. Later he joined the team at the Hubbard County Recycling Center; but, returned to the DAC about ten years later where he continued working until his retirement. Steve lived at home on the farm until he was 27 years old. He then moved into the Heartland Homes program in October of 1986. Steve experienced some hard losses in his life. The death of his father in 1980 and his dear precious mother in 2011 was very hard for him and he missed both of them deeply. Steve loved the simple things in life, a good cup of coffee, the cool sweet taste of ice cream, listening to Johnny Cash or polka music, and spending time with his family. Steve enjoyed participating in the Special Olympics and was a gifted runner. In one particular competition, Steve was leading the field in a race, and out of the corner of his eye noticed another runner had fallen. He immediately stopped running and went to the athlete who had fallen, helped him back to his feet, and walked with the limping competitor across the finish line with no regret for giving up a gold medal. Steve also enjoyed using his nimble and happy feet to dance and enjoyed dancing to bands at the American Legion Post. He was very particular about caring for his clothes and being dressed just right. Throughout his humble and simple life, Steven touched many hearts with his sincere and loyal friendship and love. He will be deeply missed by his family and housemates at Heartland Homes.
He will be lovingly remembered by his twelve brothers and sisters: Dorothy Klier of Little Falls, MN, Bill (Janet) Zilka of Sleepy Eye, MN, Leonard (Renee) Zilka of Grand Forks, ND, Thomas (Lynnette) Zilka of Redwood Falls, MN, Theresa Keller, Mary (Robert) DeCrans and Francis (Julie) Zilka all of Park Rapids, MN, Edward (Sharon) Zilka of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Joseph (Florence) Zilka of Chicago, IL, Christine Dickson of Sauk Rapids, MN, Margaret Rairdon of Park Rapids and Peter (Janet) Zilka of Chicago; as well as many nieces, nephews, and his Heartland Homes family.
Steve was preceded in death by his parents.
Funeral services will be held 11 AM Thursday, September 3, 2020 at the St. Peter the Apostle Catholic Church in Park Rapids with Father Thomas Friedl officiating. Visitation will begin at 9:45 AM Thursday at the Jones-Pearson Funeral Home in Park Rapids. Steven’s brothers will serve as his active casket bearers and his sisters will serve as his honorary casket bearers. Interment will be made in the Zilka family plot at the St. Mary’s Catholic Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to Heartland Homes.