Janet Zilka

Obituary of Janet Staveley Zilka


Janet Staveley Zilka, age 75, of Sleepy Eye, MN, died peacefully at home on January 12, 2023. She spent her final weeks in hospice care, surrounded by her family, love, laughter, and tears. 

Jan was born April 8, 1947, in Glendale, CA, the second child and only daughter of Eleanor and Huey Staveley. She graduated from Northview High in Covina in 1964. She and her friends would go to Disneyland as often as possible, and that’s where she met Minnesota native and US Marine William Zilka. They married on her 20th birthday at El Toro Marine Base in southern California and eventually moved to Sleepy Eye in February 1969. She was daycare “mom” to more than a hundred kids over almost 20 years, and she worked at AUI (Norwood, BIC, Koozie) from August 1988 until she retired in December 2016. She was a board member of the Sleepy Eye Area Food Shelf and was active in the Brown County DFL. 

She is already missed by her husband of 55 years, Bill Zilka; children Will (Julie) Zilka, Sandy Zilka, Scott (Karne) Zilka, and Jean (Brian) Yeager; grandchildren Ashley (Jamison) York, Zachary (Jessi) Zilka, Bryana Yeager, Daniel Zilka, and June Zilka; great-grandchildren Jace, Landon, Amaya, Aviyana, and Elliyana; brothers Steve (Doni) Staveley and Jack (Debra) Staveley; and countless other family members and friends. 

We will think of her whenever we hear Paul McCartney or Hall & Oates sing. We will think of her whenever we find chocolate cake on a dessert menu. We will think of her whenever the Twins play on another “gloooooorious” summer day. We will always think of her. 

A memorial celebration will be held in the spring; details to follow. 

Special thanks to the Home Care & Hospice team at New Ulm Medical Center (particularly Jill and Kalley) for taking care of Mom so lovingly. 

In lieu of memorials, please make a donation to your local food shelf or to the hospice organization of your choice. 

A Memorial Tree was planted for Janet
We are deeply sorry for your loss ~ the staff at Cremation Society Of Minnesota | Minneapolis
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