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Edwin John Zastrow Jr.

Iowa City

Edwin John Zastrow Jr., 73, died Saturday, July 13, 2019, at home following a heart-related ailment.
A time of remembrance is planned for Saturday, Aug. 24, with the time and place to be announced. Memorial donations may be directed to the Friends of the Iowa City Public Library Foundation or to the Iowa City Foreign Relations Council.
Ed was born in Clinton, Iowa, to Edwin J. Zastrow Sr. and Florence Paaske Zastrow on Aug. 7, 1945. He graduated from Clinton High School and the University of Iowa, where he received a B.A. in political science. Married for 43 years to his high school sweetheart, Sherri Smith, they divorced in 2010 but remained the best of friends and movie buddies.
A major focus of Ed's professional career was public service, beginning with his job with the Centers for Disease Control in Chicago, and then as a program planner for the University of Iowa College of Medicine. He and Sherri then spent almost 20 years in the restaurant business as owner/operators of Bushnell's Turtle, a sub shop (the first in the city). He was a beloved presence at the Bushnell's Turtle counter and remembered by UI faculty, students and long-term residents alike, whom Ed greeted with his unique blend of kindness and acerbic wit. After selling the business in 1994, Ed served for 14 years as executive director of Ronald McDonald House Charities Eastern Iowa. Soon after his retirement at RMHC (until his death), he served as director of the Iowa City Foreign Relations Council. Ed loved nothing more than mentoring and watching the growth of the young people he worked alongside.
Ed's volunteer activities included board participation for the Community Mental Health Center, Rotary Club of Iowa City, Mercy Hospital and Mercy Center Foundation. A voracious reader and lifetime learner, his love for books was exemplified by his support and board membership of the Iowa City Public Library, the Iowa Library Association and the Iowa State Library Commission. Always a political junkie, a stalwart Democrat and humanitarian, Ed's family regrets that he did not live long enough to see a sense of propriety and decency return to the United States government.
Ed is survived by Sherri; four sons, Nathan Zastrow, Adam Zastrow, Lucas (Yoko) Zastrow and Thanh (Kathy) Vo; five grandchildren, Kugga, Ninna, Zelda, Kaylee and Kayden; sisters-in-law, Laurie (Julie Phye) Smith; brother, Keith (Julie) Zastrow; niece, Andrea; and nephew, Scott.
Ed led a full and productive life, and he touched the lives of many. Ed's life was overshadowed by severe and intractable clinical depression beginning when understanding of, and treatment for, mental illness was limited or nonexistent. Ed's family appreciates that his significant accomplishments were only achieved by persevering through this profound challenge.
Online condolences may be sent to www.lensingfuneral.com.
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