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David Zola

May 29, 1947 ~ September 28, 2018 (age 71)

David Zola, 71, of Champaign passed away Friday (Sept. 28, 2018) at Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana.

The funeral Mass will be at 10 am on Monday October 1st at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, 708 W. Main St., Urbana. Father Luke Spannagel will officiate. Visitation will be from 3:30 to 7:30 pm on Sunday, September 30th at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church. Burial will be private. Owens Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements. 

Dr. Zola was born May 29, 1947, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the son of Remo and Elinor Zola. He married Susan Staats on May 29, 1989.

Surviving are a daughter, Sarah Zola Khazoum, and her husband, Eli; a daughter, Anne Zola; a son, Luke Zola; a sister, Dale Zola; and his wife, Susan.

Dr. Zola graduated from Lenox High School in 1965 and continued his education at Fairfield University, Williams College, and Cornell University. In 1978, he accepted a position as an assistant research professor at the University of Illinois and for the next 40 years distinguished himself as an outstanding teacher and professor in the UI College of Education. He lived to mentor, encourage, and foster long lasting relationships with his students, many of whom became lifelong friends.

Outside the classroom, he served as a youth minister in St. Patrick’s Parish, where he met his future wife. He did not realize anything in his life was missing until he was blessed with three children, whom he always said were his greatest gifts. Called to serve once more, he was ordained as a deacon in May 2012, a role which allowed him to positively influence the lives of others every day.

His legacy will live on through his family, students, parishioners, and all the many lives he impacted with his humor, grace, and compassion.

Dr. Zola wanted to give a gift to the church that encompasses his lifelong love of music. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to St. Patrick's Catholic Church, in David's honor, to build a formal cantor stand in his name. 


Donations may be made to:

St. Patrick's Catholic Church
708 West Main, Urbana IL 61801

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