Peter Zerebny

Obituary of Peter P. Zerebny

Pete, beloved son, nephew, cousin, friend, and colleague embarked on his homeward journey April 1, 2021 at age 85 leaving behind the witty effervescent light of his heart and spirit. Born July 11, 1935 as the only child of Metro & Mary (Yackwak) Zerebny, his bond to Syracuse was long and true. Never married or with children of his own he always found numerous ways to connect, enlarge his circle of belonging (for better or worse), partake in playful displays of trickery, and instigate laughter and questionable behavior in others while nailing the expressions and impression of his own innocence. His departure on April Fools' Day is no coincidence. Pete always maintained a life-long interest in learning new things. He graduated from Onondaga Valley High School only to decline an opportunity (and secret wish) to go to college. Early on he became a devoted partner with his father at Mac's Service Station on Brighton Ave. and later, with a cousin, at Military & Commercial Fasteners. It is time the business card he designed and proudly handed out can be retired and debunked. For the record, Pete was never in the business of selling used cars, whiskey, manure, fly swatters, racing forms, and bongos even though he declared it so. Pete was completely content with simple things – lifelong friends, his poodle, Cher, a great yard sale, cookouts, conversing with anyone who would listen, mowing his lawn, manicuring his prolific flower beds and Koi pond, and SU Sports. He looked forward to yearly attendance at the State Fair, Classic Car Shows, Ethnic Food Festivals, and often reminisced about Summer-Sunday afternoons spent with relatives under the shaded oaks at his beloved family homestead. Pete kept busy through the years with eclectic interests such as racket ball, bowling, darts, camping, boating, flying model airplanes, counted cross stich, photography, and late-in-life "tinkering and disassembling" of anything battery powered. He holds the record for unplanned electric-razor-replacement purchases. Pete was also a collector of many fine things including people, a barn full of nonfunctioning rusted oddities and incidentals, and an impressive stash of gourmet cookbooks which he never used. Pete was notorious for his overt vagueness. When asked a question he often responded "Well…yes and no." His go-to answer about how he was feeling was usually "medium well." Only his easy-going nature and a dash of super Ukrainian prayer power (from the other side) could account for his survival of ailments most of us would have succumbed to much earlier than he. In other words, Pete was divinely protected. Always was. And forever will be. Pete's legacy will be honored if we can remember to live by the lessons he unknowingly imparted: discover happiness where you are; accept the changing seasons of your life; practice kindness and optimism; take everything day by day; get to know someone new; recognize the inherent goodness in every person; remain grateful; and always stay engaging. And please, whenever you see or hear the word "medium well" again, do not think of a juicy hamburger or steak. Think of Pete, and his joy-filled and blessed life. Think of yours too. Pete is survived by several cousins. Visitation is 9 AM Monday, April 12, 2021 at St. Peter & Paul Orthodox Church, 401 Hamilton St., Syracuse, NY 13204. Services will follow at 10 AM with burial at St. Michaels Cemetery in East Syracuse. Macko-Vassalo Funeral Home is entrusted with arrangements. The family wishes to thank the selfless loving care-staff at Menorah Park, Sue Payne RN, Evelyn Kinsey MSW, and best friend Robert Lee for their kindness in helping Pete find his "tribe" and home away from home. He dearly loved and appreciated every person there. Instead of flowers please consider a donation in his memory to Menorah Park "Employee Fund," 4101 E. Genesee St., Syracuse, NY 13214.
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