1921 Ernest 2018

Ernest Zellmer

May 31, 1921 — August 27, 2018

Zeke was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on 31 May, 1921 and passed away on 27 August, 2018. He graduated from the Naval Academy in June,1943, went to Submarine School and was a part of the commissioning crew of the USS Cavalla (SS-244). He served on the Cavalla for five war patrols in the Pacific during World War II. On 6 June, 1945 he married Laurel (Babs) Miller in Perth, Australia. In late July, 1945, Zeke left the Cavalla in Guam and returned to the US to join the commissioning crew of the USS Cusk (SS-348). In January, 1947 Zeke resigned from the regular Navy and received a commission in the Naval Reserve. He became an instructor in the Engineering School of Washington University in St. Lois, from 1947-1950. Zeke then joined the CIA as an analyst of foreign submarines. Babs died in early 1959. Later that year Zeke married Lois Wuerch in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. They adopted each other’s children and had a family of six youngsters.

During his 30-year service with the CIA, Zeke had a four-year assignment to the National Security Agency, attended the National War College, received a Master’s Degree in International Affairs from George Washington University, and served five years with the Department of the Navy. He retired from the CIA in 1980, where his final assignment had been as Deputy to the Director for Collection Tasking. In 1981, Zeke and Lois moved to Satellite Beach, Florida. In late 1999 Lois died and in April, 2005, he married Beverly Friedman in Lake Wales, Florida.

In Florida, Zeke was a member, Secretary, and Chairman of the Board of Elders, and President of the Congregation of The Lutheran Church of the Redeemer in Melbourne, FL. He also served as a member and President of both the Space Coast Chapter of the CIA Retirees Association and the Satellite Beach Chapter of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers. Zeke was also a member of the Snug Harbor SubVets of Satellite Beach and the First Coast SubVets of Atlantic Beach.

His military honors include: The Bronze Star with Combat V, the Presidential Unit Citation, a number of campaign ribbons, Submarine Dolphins, and the Successful War Patrol with stars. His civilian honors include: The National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal, the Central Intelligence Agency Distinguished Service Medal, and the Department of the Navy Distinguished Civilian Service Medal.

Zeke is survived by his wife, Beverly; his children, Nancy (Ron Shapiro), Cheryl Zellmer, John (Sandy), Richard (Mary), Wendy Ryan, and Bradley Zellmer; Beverly’s children, Rick (Paula) Peltz, Darrell (Lisa) Friedman, Charla McDermott, and Leah (Trent) Sparks; his sister, Susan Sauld; seventeen grandchildren; 17 great-grandchildren; and numerous other relatives, associates, military personnel, and friends.

He was preceded in death by his sister, Yvonne Zellmer and his brother Ronald Zellmer.

Visitation will be from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m., Thursday, August 30, 2018 in Bethlehem Lutheran Church, with the Funeral Service following at 11:00 a.m. (1423 N. 8th Ave. Jacksonville Beach, FL 32250). Zeke will be interred in Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors at some designated time in the future, probably in the winter/spring 2019.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the Cavalla Historical Foundation, 601 Tremont Street, Galveston, TX 77550.

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Service Schedule


Thursday, August 30, 2018

10:00 - 11:00am

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Funeral Service

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Starts at 11:00am

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Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

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