By Sue Wambolt, Contributing Writer
Shrewsbury – Robert F. “Bobby” Zona, a lifelong resident of Shrewsbury, died Nov. 23, 2011, at the age of 60. He was a devoted father, an avid sports fan and an employee of the town of Shrewsbury Parks and Recreation Department for 40 years. He was also a dear friend of Mike Lodowsky.
“Bobby and I grew up a few houses away from each other on Old Mill Road,” Lodowsky said. “Our friendship revolved around family, school, St. Anne's Church and, especially, sports. We were teammates on some of Shrewsbury High School's greatest teams – baseball, basketball and football. Bobby led our basketball team to the state basketball championship at Boston Garden. We continued as teammates through the 1970s, playing for “the lakeside lounge” in the Dean Park?softball league.”
Zona's outstanding athletic accomplishments led to his induction as a charter member of the Shrewsbury High School Athletic Hall of Fame.
According to Lodowsky, Zona was a warm, kind, loving person who placed family above everything else.
“He was the man who not only took care of his own children, but also his ailing wife (Mary McInerney-Zona, who lost her battle with breast cancer in 2009, communityadvocate.com/2012/01/25/an-irish-step-dance-legacy-lives-on/) and his elderly folks. My family loved him so much. I remember when my folks passed, Bobby was right there beside me throughout both of those tough times,” Lodowsky remembered. “I am just one of the hundreds of people whose lives were touched by Bobby.”
Zona also left behind two young children, Dillon and Keeley.
In memory of his friend, Lodowsky is asking to have a field, preferably the field at Dean Park, named in Zona's memory: The Bobby Zona Memorial Field. To this end, a petition – both paper and online – has been created and is garnering signatures. The Bobby Zona Memorial Field online guestbook is posted as well and reflects the hearts of locals who would like to see the naming of a memorial field come to fruition.
“I love this guy and would be honored to play a charity game in his honor on the Bobby Zona Memorial Field,” wrote Paul Savageau.
“Bobby is so deserving of this. He was such an honorable man. Let's do whatever we can in his memory,” wrote Carlene Silvestris DeLuca.
Lodowsky is planning to bring the petition to the Shrewsbury Parks and Recreation Department in August. If approved, the memorial will be paid for using private funds and donations. All Lodowsky is asking for, he said, is the town's blessing.
“I believe that dedicating a field to Bobby, one that he groomed for many, many years, would be a fitting tribute to a beloved man who gave his life to the town of Shrewsbury,” Lodowsky said.
Paper petitions are available at the Banner Bar & Grille in Worcester, Lakeside Bar & Grille in Shrewsbury,?and other locations?throughout Shrewsbury. To sign online, go to http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/the-bobby-zona-memorial-field-dean-park/?or bobbyzonamemorialfield.webs.com.
To sign the Bobby Zona Memorial Field guestbook, visit http://bobbyzonamemorialfield.webs.com/apps/guestbook/