Mildred “Millie” Zender, 83, of Findlay, passed very peacefully Friday, April 17, 2020. Even in this pandemic, she was able to be surrounded with family members in her last day.
Millie was born May 6, 1936 in Hornby, New York to Andrew and Elizabeth (McIntosh) Landolf. On June 22, 1957, she married Albert (AJ) Zender at St. Vincent DePaul Catholic Church in Corning, New York, then moved to Fostoria, Ohio. AJ cared for her during her long fight with dementia and he survives in Findlay.
The Sun, Moon and Stars came into her life when she had her children, Chuck (Sheree) Zender of Upper Sandusky, Marty (Sharon) Zender of Ottawa, and Veronica (Kevin) Reinhart of Fostoria. They all survive. But her universe was completed when her 12 hummingbirds - her grandchildren – arrived; Jackie (Jeff) Disponette of Frankfort, KY, Greg Zender of Alvada, OH, Michelle Reinhart of Seattle, WA, Lindsay (Alec) Wagner of Alvada, OH, Jonathan (Katie) Reinhart of Denver, CO, Forrest (Andrea) Zender of Melmore, OH, Ryan (Leah) Zender of Delaware, OH, Dustin Reinhart, Salt Lake City, UT, Kristen (Jordan) Laudick, Ottawa, OH, Marissa Reinhart, Seattle, WA, Tyler Zender, Columbus, OH and Kaylee Zender, Ottawa, OH. She was so proud of her children and grandchildren and would tell everyone who listened, or didn’t listen, that she had 12 grandchildren, 6 girls and 6 boys. In her later years, she took pride in listing them by age, by name, or by family. Sadly, she was not able to enjoy her great-grandchildren as deeply as she would have wanted - Cole Disponette, Lena Zender, McCoy Wagner, Kendall Zender, Isla Wagner and Julia Zender.
Millie also is survived by her ‘twin not twin’ sister, Eleanor (Bob) Watson, Corning, New York, sister Margaret “Peg” (Elmer) Eaton and brother Jim (Evelyn) Landolf both of Hornby, New York. She recently joined her parents and brother Bill Landolf and sister Cecelia “Sis” (Harry) Sutton on her journey home.
Millie grew up on a dairy farm, doing chores, picking potatoes, and milking cows. She attended a one room school house through elementary school, then went on to graduate from Northside High School in Corning, New York. When she went to college in 1953 right after high school, she had just turned 17, and college was unheard of for a woman. She attended Geneseo State Teacher’s College and graduated in 1957. Right after graduation she moved 500 miles from her family to Fostoria, Ohio where she started her teaching career. Mrs. Zender, the teacher who may have dumped your desk at some point in time, taught most of her entire career at New Riegel Local Schools. She even had to learn to drive bus at one point during the Cuban Crisis in order to potentially transport her students from Alvada back to New Riegel if the country engaged in war. Millie retired from teaching in 1988, but she was not done working. She went on to work at Hills Department Stores and Meijer Store in Findlay. She loved that time being able to help others.
All of those who knew Millie will remember she always had food to serve, stories to be told, and a loving welcome to everyone. She devoted her life to teaching 3rd and 4th grade for 30 years. She won multiple awards – Golden Apples, Teacher of the Year, etc., but most of her student would remember her for pulling loose teeth. She had no interest in sports, yet she spent years upon years attending her children and grandchildren sporting events, and was at any program or activity she could possibly attend to support them. She learned to enjoy traveling, having her map on her lap and making a list of the state license plates she passed. In her later years, AJ, her sister Eleanor and she travelled all over the country. AJ was the driver and the two sisters sat in the back giggling like school girls. She loved and was passionate about her family, her puzzles, and her hummingbirds. The next time you see a hummingbird pass by you, remember her. She was deeply loved by her family and a great void has been left for us all. She will be missed.
Millie’s visitation and Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at St. Michael the Archangel Parish in Findlay on Tuesday, April 21, 2020 at 11 a.m. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing, only immediate family can be in attendance. Those wishing to be part of the service may do so through the live stream option on St. Michael’s website. Burial will follow in St. Boniface Cemetery in New Riegel, Ohio. There will be a celebration of her life, with many fond memories, later in the summer. Hufford Family Funeral Home, 1500 Manor Hill Rd., Findlay (419-422-1500) has been entrusted with the arrangements.
Those who wish to make memorial contributions can make them in Millie’s name to the Aspen and Birch Hall c/o Birchaven Village, 15100 Birchaven Lane, Findlay, Ohio or the Alzheimer’s Association, 1800 N. Blanchard St. #128, Findlay, Ohio or a charity of your choice.
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Aspen and Birch Hall C/O Birchaven Village
15100 Birchaven Lane, Findlay OH 45840
1800 N. Blanchard St. #128, Findlay OH 45840