Robert Lucas “Zup” Zupan, 88, of Billings, passed away at home on May 24, 2016, surrounded by his family.
Bob was born in Roundup to Lucas and Anne Zupan on April 19, 1928. After graduating from Roundup High School in 1946, he went on to earn BA’s and MA’s of education. He attended MSU Billings, Northern Colorado and The University of Wyoming. He was a teacher in Glendive, Lander, Laramie and Butte, before moving to Billings in 1960, where he taught math, coached and was later an administrator at Billings Senior High until he retired. At that time, he began a second career with Valic.
He served his country in the Korean War. After sleeping on a cot for 15 months in Korea, he returned home in the summer of 1953. He traveled to Minnesota shortly after to visit family and met his bride and true love, Jeanne Marinsek. He knew she was the one after a few dates and feeling sparks throughout his body as they held hands. A month later, they were married. A true romantic throughout his life (except when distracted by sports), he would bring fresh flowers home for Jeanne and always held her hand. They were married for 63 years.
Bob impacted numerous young lives during his teaching and coaching years. It was not uncommon if you were with him to have people stop to talk with him, sing his praises, and thank him for sharing his love of education. He had friends everywhere he went.
Sports were his second love. He was a great Senior High Bronc fan to the last year of his life, attending games whenever he could. He attended the sporting events of all of his grandchildren. In particular, he became a Carroll College Saints fan when his grandson Thomas played football for the Saints. He enjoyed leading the crowd with songs and cheers.
Bob’s greatest joy was his family. He reminded them that the best part of life was family each time they were together. Family gatherings were full of storytelling at the campfire, dancing and singing (ideally to polkas). One of his best traits was his ability to show his emotion. Saying grace before dinner, he usually made it through “Dear Lord” before he choked up, as he was so thankful for his family and friends. This lead to many giggles around the table and a great appreciation for one another.
He is survived by his wife, Jeanne; sister Bev Opitz (Don) of Helena; brother Don Zupan (Pat) of Walnut Creek, CA; daughter Roberta Stengel (Dave) of Missoula; son Mike Zupan (Sheere) of Fall City, WA; daughter Diane Frazier (Kirk) of Vancouver, WA; daughter Anita Dolan (Bill) of Billings; and grandchildren Kassi Stengel (fiancé Chris Moore), Thomas Dolan, Lindsey Schreibeis (Caleb), Audrey Frazier, Luke Zupan, Eli Frazier, Miles Zupan; and great-grandson Will Schreibeis. He is also survived by many nieces, nephews and friends.
“Zup” had a positive impact on others throughout his life. His Slovenian heritage shined through with his love for polkas and sharing words and phrases like “lahko noc.” He will be remembered for his smile, his love of life and his singing of the state song: M.O.N.T.A.N.A.
The family wishes to thank Dr. Sorensen, Dr. Terry, Bill Dolan PT, and the staff of RiverStone Hospice.
A vigil will be at 7 p.m. Monday, May 30, at Michelotti-Sawyers Mortuary. A celebration of life mass will be held at 10 a.m. Tuesday, May 31, at St. Thomas Catholic Church. Interment will follow in Yellowstone National Cemetery, Laurel.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to a scholarship fund that will be established in his name for BSHS students c/o Roberta Stengel, 7180 Buckhorn, Missoula, MT 59808, or a charity of your choice.