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Major General Joseph D. Zink

Obituary for Major General Joseph D. Zink

April 8, 1922 - April 28, 2013
Northfield, New Jersey | Age 91


Major General Joseph D. Zink passed away peacefully in his son and daughter in law's home on Sunday April 28, 2013 in Northfield N.J.
General Zink was born April 8, 1922, in Newark, N.J., graduated from Belleville High School, Belleville, N.J. in 1940 and entered Princeton University, Princeton N.J.
He was a renowned sculler rowing with the Nereiod Boat Club, Rutherford New Jersey and was also captain of Princeton's varsity 150-pound crew. General Zink was crowned National Interscholastic Singles Rowing Champion for the United States and Canada in May 1940.
General Zink had a distinguished 40-year career with the United States Air Force and New Jersey Air National Guard. He entered the aviation cadet program in 1942 and was assigned to the Eighth Air Force as a B-17 bomber pilot in Europe from March 1944 through May 1945. He flew 30 combat missions with the 384th Bombardment Group, 545 Bombardment Squadron stationed at Grafton Underwood England. The 384th BG, had an enviable reputation, and had many achievements including 2 Divisional Unit Citations for "Heroism and Dedication to Duty against Extreme Odds".
At the end of World War II Joe returned to Princeton University and in 1946 received his Bachelor of Arts degree in political science. He received his bachelor of laws degree in 1948 from the Rutgers University School of Law, New Brunswick, N.J. and passed the N.J. Bar Exam.
General Zink joined the New Jersey Air National Guard in January 1947 and held positions as wing executive officer; and flight, squadron, group and wing commander. He commanded the 119th Fighter Squadron, Newark N.J., the 177th Tactical Fighter Group, Atlantic City, N.J. and the 108th Tactical Fighter Wing, McGuire Air Force Base, N.J.
In 1951 he was called back to active duty as Commander of the 108th Fighter group in response to the outbreak of the Korean War. In October 1961, during the Berlin airlift, he commanded the 7108th Fighter Wing, Chaumont Air Base, France, until July 1962. The 7108th Fighter Wing was the overseas element of the 108th Tactical Fighter Wing.
Later in his career General Zink was appointed as Assistant Chief of Staff, Air, to the Chief of Staff, New Jersey Department of Defense. He was promoted to Major General in June 1972.
In 1975 he was appointed to the reserve Forces Policy Board which is a statutory body which serves as principal policy adviser to the secretary of defense on matters relating to the reserve components and in 1979 he was appointed Military Executive of the RFPB, office of the Secretary of Defense in Wash., DC.
Major General Zink retired from military service July 1, 1983. He was a command pilot with more than 5,500 flying hours. His military decorations and awards include the Department of Defense Distinguished Service Medal, the nation's highest peacetime award, the Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross and Air Medal with four oak leaf clusters.
He and his wife Marie retired to Seabrook Island, South Carolina where he became a successful land developer leaving behind a legacy of tranquil beauty that encourages wildlife and nature to enhance the lives of the people who live there.
He is predeceased by his parents Homer C. and Edith (nee Chapman), his brother Homer (Randy) and his wife Mary and sister Myra and husband Bradford.
He is survived by the love of his life, Marie (nee Rudolph) and loving children Jamie (Ron Dankowski) Jeff (Barbara nee Gould) and Gary (Christine Curtis) and granddaughter Jennie Marie, step grandchildren Anna Milanos (Dan) and Paul Dankowski, sister Lorna Whitehorne, nephew David Zink (Rue nee Redfield), great nephews Cole and Ian Zink, and many extended family members.
In lieu of flowers, please send donations to: Seabrook Island Green Space Conservancy c/o Mr. Richard Holms, Treasurer. Relatives and friends are invited to attend Joseph's Life Celebration and gathering on Friday May 3, 2013 from 10AM to 10:30AM to at Church of The Epiphany 6605 Atlantic Ave Ventnor City, NJ. Service will follow at 10:30Am. Interment will follow Brigadier General William C. Doyle Veterans Memorial Cemetery. To share your fondest memory of Joseph please visit Jeffries& Keates Funeral Home

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Suggested Memorial Donations

  • In lieu of flowers, please send donations to: Seabrook Island Green Space Conservancy c/o Mr. Richard Holms, Treasurer.

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Jeffries & Keates Funeral Home

228 Infield Avenue
Northfield, NJ 08225
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