AKRON (Dec. 15, 2003) — Ernest H. Zielasko, Tire Business' first editor and publisher, died Dec. 13 following a short illness. He was 84.
A resident of Hudson, Ohio, since 1964, Mr. Zielasko co-founded Rubber & Plastics News (RPN), a sister publication of Tire Business, in 1971 and sold the publication to Crain Communications Inc. in 1976. In 1983, he directed Crain's start-up of Tire Business.
He worked with Crain for 10 years, retiring as vice president of the company's Rubber Industry Publications while continuing to serve as editor and publisher of RPN. Following his retirement, he continued as a free-lance writer and public relations consultant with the International Institute of Synthetic Rubber Producers in Houston. He also occasionally wrote articles for RPN and Tire Business.
Mr. Zielasko had a lifelong love of writing and began his journalism career in 1947 after joining the B.F. Goodrich Rubber Co. in Akron as a public relations writer. He then spent 13 years at Modern Tire Dealer magazine, where he served as editor and publisher.
A graduate of Louisville, Ohio, high school, Mr. Zielasko attended the University of Iowa for three years before being drafted into the U.S. Army as a private. He spent five years in the service and was part of the 35th Infantry Division serving in the World War II European theater of operations. After being discharged from the Army as a captain in 1945, he returned to finish his college education at Ohio State University — where he earned a B.A. degree in English — but it was to the University of Iowa that he continued to pledge his loyalty.
Mr. Zielasko earned numerous honors including the John S. Knight Award for journalism from the Buckeye Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists in 1985. He received the Distinguished Service Award from the Rubber Division of the American Chemical Society in 1986 and was elected into the Tire Industry Hall of Fame in 1993 by the National Tire Dealers & Retreaders Association, the precursor to the current Tire Industry Association.
Several years ago Mr. Zielasko authored a book, ”Jeff's Denial,” a self-published memoir of his son Jeff's gallant fight against leukemia. In addition, he was a devoted Cincinnati Bengals football fan.
He also was a member of the First Congregational Church of Hudson.
Mr. Zielasko was preceeded in death by his parents; his wife of 41 years, Rosetta; his youngest son, Jeff, who died at age 19; and his sister Ida.
Survivors include his wife, Mary; sons and daughters-in-law David, who is editor and publisher of Tire Business, and Gwen of Silver Lake, Ohio, and Philip and Lisa of Naperville, Ill.; brother and sister-in-law Gus and Marilyn of North Canton, Ohio; and three granddaughters, Sarah, Katie and Annie.
Calling hours will be from 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 16, at the Johnson Romito Funeral Home in Hudson. A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Wednesday at the First Congregational Church of Hudson. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials be made to the First Congregational Church of Hudson Memorial Fund, 47 Aurora St., Hudson, Ohio 44236 or to the Jeffrey W. Zielasko Memorial Scholarship, Rochester Institute of Technology, Office of Development, 116 Lomb Memorial Drive, Rochester, N.Y. 14623.