Gary E. Zarwell

JEFFERSON — Gary E. Zarwell, 72, of Jefferson, passed away on Wednesday, April 15, 2020, at Aurora-Summit Medical Center.

Gary was born on Aug. 28, 1947, in Milwaukee, the son of John and Olivia (Marx) Zarwell.

Gary graduated from Washington High School and Spencerian College, both of Milwaukee.

On June 8, 1968, he married Marilyn Capes at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Milwaukee.

When Gary was finishing his degree, he worked many jobs which included part-time U.S. Postal Service worker, door to door Fuller Brush salesman and retail salesperson. Retail sales is where he flourished.

Gary always wanted his own store and built, opened and operated Valu Plus Variety Store with locations in Fredonia and Port Washington.

Later, he was hired as a district manager at ACE Hardware, covering territory in Wisconsin and Michigan. He appreciated ACE and loved working on behalf of the independent business owner. He was known as an advocate for the individual owner — encouraging and counseling them on what merchandise was best for their markets.

Gary was a doer. He remodeled every home he ever owned, customized many cars and even made his own furniture.

He had a passion for all things automotive. He was a lover of AMCs, a collector of convertible Dodge Dakota pickup trucks and a Maserati owner.

Gary was a hardworking man with a weird sense of humor who never met a project he couldn’t accomplish. He was honest to a fault, he loved his country, and his family was his priority. He will be deeply missed.

Gary is survived by his wife, Marilyn of Jefferson; sons, Todd (Lisa) Zarwell of Verona and David (Yelena) Zarwell of Jefferson; grandchildren, Drew, Mason, Aiden, Roman, Dmitri and Gabriel; and brothers, Eugen Zarwell of Maryland and Richard (Donnee) Zarwell of Alabama. He also is survived by a number of nieces, nephews, other relatives and many friends.

He was preceded in death by his parents.

A celebration in Gary’s honor will be held at a later date.

Olsen-Gibson Funeral Home in Jefferson is caring for the family. To place an online condolence, please visit:

To plant a tree in memory of Gary Zarwell as a living tribute, please visit Tribute Store.

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