It is with extreme sadness that the daughters of Katherine Elizabeth Zeller announce her sudden and unexpected death on February 25, 2022 at Citrus Memorial Hospital. Born on May 1, 1937 in Bridgeport, Connecticut, she was the eldest child of Alexander Turko and Elizabeth (Kulcsar) Turko. She was 84 years old.
Katherine was the first in her family to attend and graduate college, and became an elementary school teacher for the City of Bridgeport where she was employed throughout her entire teaching career. She later received her Master’s degree in teaching as well as her Sixth Year. In 1992, she won the Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers award by being nominated by numerous former students as a teacher who “Made a Difference” in the lives of those students. She was truly a distinguished and gifted educator who touched the lives and hearts of so many.
In the earlier years of her teaching career, she met “the only man [she] ever loved”, Thomas Aiken Zeller, and they began their 38 year marriage on June 29, 1968. They had two daughters, Elizabeth and Jeanne. After retiring, Katherine, Thomas, Elizabeth and Jeanne moved from Connecticut to Citrus Hills, Florida in 1996. Katherine and Thomas relocated to Lakeside Village in Beverly Hills, FL in 2004.
Katherine enjoyed cooking, baking, reading, crocheting, and painting ceramics as well as creating her own paintings on canvas and glass. She always enjoyed spending time with her family, especially her grandchildren Ashleigh and Thomas. She was a loving and devoted wife, mother and grandmother.
Katherine is survived by her two daughters, Elizabeth Zeller and Jeanne Zeller; two grandchildren, Ashleigh Riel and Thomas Riel; sister Marie (Richard) Brown; brother Alexander Turko; cousin Carole Cox; nieces Theresa “Tammy” (David) Knies, Michelle (Daryn) Waterbury, and Andrea (Scott) Kowakami; two nephews, Mark Turko and Richard Brown; several great-nieces and great-nephews; friends and neighbors. She was preceded in death by her parents and her husband, Thomas, in 2006.
Katherine was an authentic and giving person. She was the person everyone could always count on. She was also the person who showed up consistently every time for family, friends, and neighbors to lend a helping hand in whatever way she could. She was the embodiment of service to others and never had any expectation of receiving anything in return. Everything she did for her loved ones was carried out with kindness and compassion and she always gave her all. Katherine was always a beacon of light in a world that can be quite dark at times. She will be deeply missed but will always remain in our hearts.
A Visitation will be held on Thursday, March 3, 2022 from 9:30 AM - 10:30 AM at Heinz Funeral Home in Inverness. A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 11:00 AM at Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church in Inverness. Burial will follow at Hills of Rest Cemetery in Floral City.