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Zoltan Zantay, 88|
August 27, 2009
SALISBURY, Conn. — Zoltan "Zip" Zantay, 88, of Noble Horizons Retirement Community died Thursday, Aug. 27, 2009, at home. He and his late wife, the former Ethel Gruber, operated Camp Deerwood in Monterey, Mass., for many years on Lake Buel and kept a home on Lake Buel Road in Great Barrington, Mass.
Born Dec. 14, 1920, son of Mr. and Mrs. Szantay, who emigrated from Hungary, he was a lifelong musician, starting his career by winning a woodwind contest for New York City public school students. His father was a violinist, but he won flute and clarinet lessons with Marcel Moyse and with Simone Belison, both of the New York Philharmonic. He distinguished himself early on as a scholarship member of Belison's clarinet ensemble.
An Army veteran of World War II, he served with the 365th Special Services Band under the baton of Sy Oliver and participated in many wartime broadcasts.
Mr. Zantay performed with many well-known big bands, including Shep Fields, Carmen Cavellero, Dick Stabile, Lex Baxter, Art Mooney and others. Broadway beckoned and he followed, playing in the pit of such shows as "Lost in the Stars," "Can-Can," "Me and Juliet," "Follow the Girls," "Touch and Go" and many others. He also had the honor of playing the first reed chair with the Roxy Theater Orchestra from 1944-1953, as well as at the Paramont Theater and the Copacabana, where he performed with musical luminaries such as Louie Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra and many others. He was featured as the "King of the Cha Cha" when leading his quintet at the Astor Roof Café. He then became a successful music teacher of saxophone, clarient and flute, and a club date musician in Long Island, N.Y., with more than 90 students a week studying with him.
In 1960, he and two partners opened Camp Deerwood, later taking sole ownership and running the camp until 1984. He was a defining force in the development of the lives of his thousands of campers. He also taught music at Berkshire School in Sheffield, Mass. His children, former campers, and his students remember him as a "Larger than Life" personality with charm and chutzpah like no other.
He volunteered for many years at Noble Horizons, delighting residents with his music and his Great Danes, Penny and Otis. His love for music continues through his children and grandchildren.
His wife of 42 years died in 1987.
He leaves two sons, Robert Zantay of New York City and Douglas Zantay and is wife, Karen, a former camper, of Ridgefield, Conn.; a daughter, Valerie Zantay of Monterey; a brother, William Szantay; seven grandchildren, Renee Zantay, Chelsea Zantay, Dakota Zantay, Jazz Zantay, Gabriel Ibanez, Joshua Ibanez and David Ibanez, and by his beloved partner of more than 20 years, Marian Schwaikert of Lakeville, Conn.
He was predeceased by his sister, Helen Civic.
FUNERAL NOTICE — A celebration of Mr. Zantay's extraordinary life will be held on Saturday, Sept. 12, at 11 from at St. John's Episcopal Church in Salisbury, Conn.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions be made in his memory to Noble Horizons or to Salibury Visting Nurse & Hospice through Finnerty & Stevens Funeral Home, 426 Main St., Great Barrington, MA 01230. Remembrances, memories and reflections may be sent to the family through www.finnertyandstevens.com.
|i know he's up there jammin' with the greats and all the other happy campers! he was the most wonderful lakeside neighbor for decades.|
|from: elissa worthington||on: 09-01-2009|
|On behalf of the Fort Slocum Alumni & Friends, I wish to express our condolences. Zip was a member of the 378th Army Service Forces Band at Ft Slocum, NY in WWII. Lately he contribued valuable photos and an interview to our historical collection, for which we are very grateful.|
|from: Michael A Cavanaugh||on: 08-31-2009|