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Gilbert Zyzniewski's Obituary

March 29, 1938 – January 6, 2022

The Rev. Gilbert R. Zyzniewski, 83, of Boulder, CO and longtime First United Methodist Church (FUMC) minister, died at home unexpectedly on January 6, 2022. He was born in Butte, Montana on March 29, 1938, son of the late Mike and Pauline (Rolfe) Zyzniewski.

Gilbert was a graduate of Butte High School, class of 1956. While in high school, he boxed in the Golden Gloves tournament, went to the pre-Olympics for speed skating and was a classmate of Bob (Evil) Knievel. He earned a B.A. from Rocky Mountain College, class of 1960, and a M. Div from Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University (SMU), class of 1964. Gilbert was ordained as a Methodist minister in Dallas, TX on May 19, 1964, fulfilling his life’s calling. Spreading God’s word was a commitment that he lived each day of his life.

Gilbert’s ordained ministry started with the North Texas Conference in Dallas, TX at Highland Park UMC, 1964. He moved to the Mountain Sky Conference in 1968, and served numerous Colorado UMC churches from 1968–2003 when he retired. Colorado allowed him to continue his lifetime love of hunting, fishing and hiking. Gilbert served Lakewood UMC - Lakewood, CO, FUMC - Colorado Springs, CO, FUMC of Boulder - Boulder, CO, Park Hill UMC - Denver, CO, and Jefferson Ave. UMC - Wheat Ridge, CO. Gilbert retired from employed ministry in 2003 but continued to serve the community filling in for UMC ministers, performing weddings, funerals, counseling and giving a kind word to all who would listen until he passed away. Ministry was a passion for Gilbert.

Gilbert shared 57 wonderful years of marriage to his wife, Jeane Zyzniewski. They met in the lunch line at SMU, and were married at Highland Park UMC in Dallas, TX in 1964.

Gilbert is survived by his wife, Jeane, his son, Michael Zyzniewski, daughter-in-law Carina, grandchildren, Joshua and Andrea, and his daughter, Bonnie (Zyzniewski) Gavin, son-in-law Kenneth, and grandson Colin. In addition, he is survived by his brothers Donald Zyzniewski and John Harris, and sisters Marlene Olsen, Kathy Troglin, and Joyce Bangs. Gilbert is predeceased by his sisters Barbara Lewis, Mylene Lord and his brother Lawrence “Chappie” Richards.

A Scripture passage, a hymn, and a saying summarize a significant portion of that which motivated and undergirded the intentions of Gilbert’s years of ministry. Isaiah 61:1-2 reminded him that the Spirit of the Lord was upon him to preach good news. The hymn, “Gift of Love” reminded him “Though I may speak with bravest fire, And have the gifts to all inspire, And have not love, my words are vain...” The saying: “I expect to pass through this world but once, therefore any good I can do or any kindness that I can offer, let me do it now, for I shall not pass this way again.”

A Celebration of Life for Gilbert will be held virtually on Saturday, March 5, 2022. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the Gilbert Zyzniewski Memorial Scholarship Endowment. Details for both can be found at www.GilbertZyzniewski.com