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Official Obituary of

Joseph Zavisca

April 15, 1949 ~ January 28, 2023 (age 73) 73 Years Old

Joseph Zavisca Obituary

Joseph Zavisca, 73, of South Bend, Ind., died on Jan. 28, 2023, of pancreatic cancer, surrounded by family and loved ones.

Joe is survived by his wife of 32 years, Rose, and his children Christian Zavisca (Julie Wiest) of Norristown, Pa., Lauren (David) Tarr of Lebanon, Ohio, Julie Solmer (Mark) Stine of Cypress, Texas, Natalie Solmer (Ceyon Beckford) of Speedway, Ind., Scott (Junko) Solmer of Clover, S.C., and seven grandchildren: Bram, Emerson, Kymani, Beckett, Brodie, Alleon, and Alec. 

Joe was an avid and accomplished golfer, and joked that for his obituary, he would like it written that he waged a lifelong battle with golf, and golf won.

Joseph John Zavisca was born on April 15, 1949, in Buffalo, N.Y., to Dr. Ernest and Sarah Zavisca, both of whom are deceased. He is also survived by his siblings, Frank, Ernie, and Mary.

Joe first came to South Bend in the early 1980s to work as the general manager of Transpo. His career in the transportation industry lasted for decades. He was president of Transportation Management Services, Inc. (TMSI), in Alexandria, Va., from 1992 to 2000, commuting weekly by air travel from South Bend. He was then a self-employed consultant for almost 15 years, primarily in the public transit industry. He was an expert in paratransit services and a committed advocate for providing transportation to people with disabilities. That advocacy included serving on state boards and in key leadership roles supporting people with disabilities.

In a late-in-life career change, Joe became first a volunteer and then the full-time International Program Manager for the Tax Assistance Program at the University of Notre Dame, where he managed tax preparation each year for more than 1,000 international students and research scholars who were members of the Notre Dame community. From 2020 to 2023, he was a self-employed tax consultant, preparing tax returns for individuals, especially non-United States residents. His extensive pro-bono work included preparing taxes for many seniors.

Joe earned a bachelor of arts degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo in 1971 and a Master of Arts from the Pennsylvania State University in 1974.

Joe acted in and directed numerous theatrical productions over the course of his life, including many for South Bend Civic Theatre. He wrote his master's thesis on the Stratford Festival, a renowned monthslong theater festival in Ontario, Canada, and made annual trips to Stratford to attend productions for many years.

Joe was a collegiate golfer, and sports remained a lifelong interest of his, whether it was talking about the latest games and standings with his children and grandchildren, or attending events near and far, many with a close friend from his high school days, Dr. Thomas Kelly of Milwaukee. For years, Joe was an avid runner and walker, completing numerous 10K races, as well as a 15K and a half-marathon.

Joe was especially close with his immediate family, and most enjoyed spending time with his loving wife Rose, and his children and grandchildren. Their house was always filled with laughter and fun conversation, with Joe joining in as the grandkids kicked the soccer ball around or played football in the backyard.

Arrangements are being handled by St. Joseph's Funeral Home. A private memorial service is planned for a later date.

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