Funny, kind, strong, loving, determined, smart
Zach was a light in the life of anyone lucky enough to know him. His laughter was electric. He could make anyone feel comfortable and strike up a conversation with the quietest person in the room. His kindness, personality, work ethic, and humor are qualities he will always be remembered for. And he could cook!
Zach could come into any kitchen, look at what was available, and have a gourmet meal whipped up within the hour. He often golfed with his dad and they were known to share a good cigar together. Zach enjoyed playing with his dog Layla and spending time with his girlfriend Alex, who fit right into the family.
Zach’s parents, Stephanie and Rick and his sister Ashlie, were a source of strength and fun that Zach could depend on. Zach and his mom hiked together and soaked up the outdoors. He also once joined his mom volunteering at a Polar Bear Jump. He was close to his brother-in-law, Casey, and had a powerful bond with his niece, Piper, and nephews, Maddox and Jax. It was apparent how much he loved them and the absolute pleasure he got from being around them. Zach felt fortunate to have such a cohesive, loving, selfless and helpful family. They were important to him and central to his life. He was well loved.
Zach earned a Marketing degree from the University of Akron and took engineering classes relevant to his employment with a multinational company. Most recently Zach was a mortgage banker with First Ohio Home Finance. He worked hard to get what he had and was proud of his work accomplishments, but his genuine achievement in life was how he cared for people and made them feel valued and loved.
Zach’s girlfriend, Alex said: “I miss his smile, laughter, his warmth and the way he would say my name. He made me feel safe and happy. He was so special; his light is missed every day.” She remembers Zach’s first birthday after rehab when she threw a surprise party for him. She took him away for the weekend and when they pulled into the driveway of the house, ten of his closest friends came out. He treasured his friends, and having them there for his party meant the world to him. “The look of sheer happiness and surprise is one I will never forget,” Alex said. ‘He was so loved and I was lucky to get to love him.’
“When Zach was in active addiction, he was not himself,” Alex said. ‘I look at addiction and the person addicted as two different people; addiction does not make a person, it is a small part of them.” Alex recognizes that addiction is not a choice, it is a disease; still, it has a profound influence on everyone involved.
“Addiction took someone I was going to spend the rest of my life with, and stole him from his beloved family and friends,” Alex said. ‘It has also put more grace in my heart for those struggling. I watched that battle for the three years I was with Zach, and saw his will to fight it, but it won.’
Zach’s girlfriend, Alexandria Rhodes, provided the information for this narrative.
May 27, 1989-March 17, 2019
Age 29-Lived with addiction 4 years