Edward J. Zalko

Edward J. Zalko

Private family funeral services for Edward J. Zalko (Lt. Colonel, USAF Retired) of Norman, Okla., will be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020, at Craddock Funeral Home, Ardmore, with Father Ratterman officiating.

Final interment will be at Hasley Cemetery, West Monroe, La. He passed away Friday, Oct. 16, 2020.

Edward J. Zalko was born Oct. 26, 1916, in Youngstown, Ohio, the first-generation son of Czechoslovakia immigrants. He entered active duty in July of 1941 in the United States Army Air Force (now known as the US Air Force). He served on active duty as a B-17 navigator/bombardier during WWII, where during one of his missions his plane was shot down. The Distinguish Flying Cross and Purple Heart were among many of his medals and awards he received during his military career. Upon his return to the United States, Edward married Aileen F. Grigsby of Monroe, La., in June of 1945 and together they raised four children. They were married a total of 71 years. He continued his career in the Air Force assigned to the Strategic Air Command for 23 years as a B-47 and B-52 navigator/bombardier and later as an instructor and trainer. He retired from the USAF in October 1964. After his military retirement, he began a second career with Aeronautical Chart & Information Center, St. Louis, Mo., for 16 years, finally retiring from the work force in December 1981. The Zalko family lived in seven different states while he was in the Air force, with the final family move to O’Fallon, Ill. Edward and Aileen lived there for 48 years before moving to Norman.

Edward was an avid golfer, loving the sport immensely, and could be seen on the golf courses up into his 90’s. He also enjoyed being outside working on his lawn or in his vegetable garden and flower beds.

He is preceded in death by his wife Aileen F. Zalko; his parents, Joseph and Katherine Zalko; and his two sisters, Helen Zalko and Marge Sulik.

Survivors include his Daughters, Carolyn Humphreys of Norman, Yvonne Burgard and spouse David Burgard of Toledo, Ohio; Sons, Richard Zalko and spouse Colleen of Ardmore, and Edward F. Zalko and spouse Linda of San Francisco; Grandchildren, Scott Humphreys, Pamela Orth, Edward S Zalko and spouse Ryann, Allison Zalko, Jessica Bryant and spouse Michael Bryant, Rachel Chandley and spouse Brian Chandley; Great-grandchildren, Tanner Humphreys, Laney Humphreys, Riley Humphreys, Parker Chandley and Hazel Chandley.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Ardmore, or a charity of your choice.

Posted online on October 22, 2020