David O. Zenker died peacefully Saturday, Sept. 29, at the Morristown Medical Center in Morristown, N.J. surrounded by his family. He was 83. A long-time resident of Morristown, Dr. Zenker resided between Vero Beach, Fla. and Edgartown after retiring.
A memorial service for Dr. Zenker will be held at the Hilltop Presbyterian Church in Mendham, N.J. on Oct. 12. A memorial service at the Vero Beach Community church will be announced at a later date.
He grew up in Summit, N.J. and attended local schools before entering the Peddie School in Hightstown, N.J. and graduating in 1946. He went on to graduate from Brown University in 1950 and Thomas Jefferson Medical School in 1955. Dr. Zenker interned for one year at Morristown Medical Center, which was then Morristown Memorial Hospital, followed by two years in the U.S. Army where he was assigned duty at AFETA, the Armed Forces Experimental Training Activities, at Camp Peary in Williamsburg, Va. He was honorably discharged in 1958 and promoted to the rank of captain as a reserve commissioned officer. Dr. Zenker completed a three-year residency in otolaryngology at New York Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center and returned to Morristown Medical Center to begin a private practice in the hospital where he was born. Dr. Zenker began his career in Morristown with Dr. Joseph Alcaro and was later joined in his practice by Dr. Didier Peron and subsequently Dr. Greg Fleming. During his 40 years of practice, focused on otolaryngology and head and neck surgery, Dr. Zenker became well respected for his surgical expertise and medical judgment. During this time, Dr. Zenker spent one year as a clinical assistant professor at Rutgers Medical Center in the Department of Head and Neck Surgery in Newark, N.J. He gave generously of his time and was always available for his patients, administering care in the warm and compassionate style for which he became well known. In addition to serving his community as a physician, he served on the hospital board of trustees and as a member of hospital committees. He also served on the boards of the YMCA, Morris Museum, Jersey Battered Women, Peck School and the United Methodist Church in Morristown.
Dr. Zenker lived life to its fullest, pursuing many interests outside of his busy medical schedule. His early love of photography continued throughout his life and his junior high school band prepared him for the band he later joined with fellow physicians, playing for the hospital and local benefits. He was a true sportsman throughout his life. He played baseball and was captain of the team during his senior year at Peddie, and at Brown he played squash and won the Rhode Island Division C championship. Tennis, paddle, skiing, and fishing were all part of the private time he spent away from his practice, but Dr. Zenker became best known outside the medical world as a golfer. Though introduced to the game as a teenager, it was not until his return to Morristown that he began to pursue what was to become one of his most enjoyable leisure time activities. Over the years he won many golf club men’s championships including Morris County Golf Club (four), Edgartown Golf Club (six), Riomar Golf Club (nine) and Bent Pine Golf Club (three) in Vero Beach. He was also a member of the U.S. Seniors Golf Association for 26 years during which time he won numerous tournaments and was selected to play for the USSGA international teams. Dr. Zenker always shared his love and knowledge of golf with his family and friends in a manner that was reminiscent of the Hippocratic zeal he showed toward his patients.
Dr. Zenker was loved deeply by all those who knew him, but none more than his loving wife Jeanne Tucker, who together with family celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary this past August. They shared the love of three children, David Jr. of New York city, Barbara Parker and her husband, Oliver Parker of Hamilton and Anne Mackell of Greenwich, Conn. He is also survived by two brothers, Thomas Zenker of Auburn, Pa. and Robert Zenker of Convent Station, N.J., his brother in law, Robert Tucker of Glen Gardner, N.J. and his grandchildren: Sarah Parker, Elizabeth Mackell, Amory Parker, Anna Parker, Chloe Mackell, David O. Zenker 3rd, Charlie Parker, Peter Mackell, Isabelle Mackell and Pauline Zenker.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Morristown Medical Center, Medical ICU, 100 Madison avenue, Morristown, NJ 07960 or the U.S. Seniors Golf Association Memorial Fund, 49 Knollwood Road, Elmford, NY 10523.