By Sue Wambolt, Contributing Writer
Shrewsbury – Robert “Bobby” Zona was a lifelong resident of Shrewsbury, a charter member of the Shrewsbury High School Athletic Hall of Fame, and a beloved employee of the Town of Shrewsbury Parks and Recreation Department for almost 40 years. He passed away Nov.13, 2011, at the age of 60.
Zona’s wife Mary McInerney-Zona, predeceased him in 2009 after a valiant battle with breast cancer. The couple is survived by their two young children, Dillon and Keeley.
Zona was an avid sports fan. He played on some of Shrewsbury High School’s greatest teams – baseball, basketball and football – alongside his dear friend and neighbor, Mike Lodowski.
In memory of Zona, Lodowski and a handful of other residents petitioned the town to name a field at Dean Park the Bobby Zona Memorial Field. And, while this did not gain approval, a memorial plaque will be placed on a rock in the vicinity of the backstop directly behind the softball field.
It reads: “In memory of a Shrewsbury gentleman, Hall of Fame athlete and keeper of these fields: Bobby Zona, ‘The UnCommon Common Man,’ a son, a husband, a father, a friend.”
The dedication ceremony will take place at the Dean Park softball field Saturday, Oct. 18, at
1 p.m. with a pick-up softball game beginning at 10 a.m. and running until the dedication begins. Father Paul O’Connell of St. Anne’s Parish will open the ceremony with an invocation, followed by Joe Russell (former Shrewsbury High athlete and friend of Zona’s) who will deliver the dedication. All are welcome and invited to attend.
“The Zona and McInerney families as well as many friends, teammates and former co-workers will be in attendance,” Lodowski said. “Bobby’s 95-year-old father, John Zona, is especially looking forward to the dedication for his son.”
Lodowski noted that many thanks go to Peter Yablonski of Paradigm Landscape, Inc., who donated everything from the rock to affixing the plaque to digging the hole where it will be placed.
Although the goal of having the field named in Zona’s honor was not achieved, Lodowski believes that with the positioning of the stone at the field, it will likely be called “Zona Field.”
Donations to the Bobby Zona Memorial Scholarship Fund can be made at Central One Federal Credit Union, 714 Main St., Shrewsbury, MA 01545.