Mr. Joseph R. Zepf, 99, a resident of Greenwich, CT and a former longtime resident of Port Chester, NY, died August 14, 2023. Born June 26, 1924 in Poughkeepsie, NY to the late Joseph W. and Ruth Boyle Zepf, Mr. Zepf lived his long life as a loving husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather, and he was an esteemed uncle and good friend to many. He was a proud World War II veteran and a faithful parishioner of Our Lady of Mercy Church in Port Chester.
After graduating with honors from Poughkeepsie High School in 1942 where he was the captain of the debate team, Mr. Zepf earned his bachelor’s degree cum laude from Harvard College in 1948 and his Juris Doctor degree from Harvard Law School in 1951. In 1955, he earned a Master of Laws in Taxation degree from New York University.
Mr. Zepf began his professional career as an associate in a law firm in Poughkeepsie before joining New York Life Insurance Company in New York City in 1960 as Associate General Counsel, where he worked until his retirement in 1995.
Mr. Zepf honorably served in the United States Army Air Corps during World War II in the Pacific Theater, most notably in Guadalcanal. He was a 1st Lieutenant and was awarded the American Campaign Medal, Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal, and the World War II Victory Medal. He served as a Communications Officer in the Army Air Corps for three and a half years in the South Pacific and was a Captain in the Air Reserve. He was recognized during the war for saving a fellow soldier from drowning.
In 1957, Mr. Zepf married the love of his life, Mary Charlanne James, with whom he shared a life of faith and love until her untimely passing in 1985. The newlyweds lived briefly in Poughkeepsie before moving to White Plains, NY, and then to Port Chester in 1965. Joe and Charlanne were blessed with seven children and made a loving home where faith and education were emphasized. All of their children attended Our Lady of Mercy parochial school and continued on to advance their education.
Mr. Zepf was an accomplished athlete and throughout his life enjoyed golf, tennis, basketball, pool, and swimming. He was a member for several years at the Dutchess Golf Club and was proud of the Hole-in-One that he achieved there. Mr. Zepf was an avid reader and a lifelong learner who taught himself to play the piano. Although he was renowned for his keen intellect and breadth of knowledge, he was exceedingly modest.
A devoted Catholic, Mr. Zepf was a lifelong daily communicant. He was a member of the leadership team for the Catholic Charismatic Renewal during the 1970s. He also led weekly prayer groups at Our Lady of Mercy Church and for many years was a lector there. In the early 1990s, Mr. Zepf became qualified as a Spiritual Director after completing his training at the Center for Spirituality and Justice, Bronx, NY. Later, he became a Regional Contact for Contemplative Outreach and taught Centering Prayer courses at the NY Archdiocese Center for Spirituality and Human Development.
Mr. Zepf’s influence was profound. His wide circle of friends included both religious and lay people, and throughout the time he spent as a spiritual director and teacher of centering prayer, he made a lasting impact on the community of faith and on his family. He was witty and warm. He loved making people laugh and making people think.
He was predeceased by his sister Margaret Murphy. He is survived by his beloved children: Mary Anne Polistina and her husband Dean Polistina of Greenwich, CT; Joseph J. Zepf and his wife Tina of Boca Raton, FL; Robert Zepf of Rocky Hill, CT; Thomas Zepf and his wife Yani of White Plains, NY; J. Matthew Zepf and his wife Eileen of Goshen, NY; Anthony Zepf and his wife Jennifer of Johns Creek, GA; and Charlanne Bauerlein and her husband Roy of White Plains, NY.
Mr. Zepf, lovingly referred to as “Pa,” leaves twelve grandchildren and one great-grandson: Mary Charlanne “Carly” Polistina, Grace Polistina, Margaret “Maggie” Polistina, Christopher Zepf, Katherine Charlanne “Katie” Zepf, Joseph R. Zepf, Kelly Zepf, J. Matthew Zepf, Jr., Charlanne A. Zepf, Aleck Joseph Zepf, Charlanne “Charly” Bauerlein and Andre Bauerlein, and great grandson Luca Joseph Zepf. His niece Ruthann Kelly lives in Wappingers Falls, NY.
Visitation will be 4-8PM on Monday August 21, 2023 at Craft Memorial Home, Inc. in Port Chester.
Mass of Christian Burial will be 9:30 AM on Tuesday August 22, 2023 at Parish of Saint John Bosco (Our Lady of Mercy) 260 Westchester Ave. Port Chester, NY. Interment to follow at Saint Mary's Cemetery Rye Brook, NY.
Memorial donations in memory of Mr. Zepf may be made to Contemplative Outreach
www.contemplativeoutreach.org or to Good Counsel Homes www.goodcounselhomes.org or to the charity of your choice.