NIAGARA FALLS —
Albert Joseph Del Zoppo died at home Sunday, March 10, 2013, with family by his side. Born and raised in Niagara Falls, NY to Donato and Flavia Del Zoppo, he was one of ten children. As the oldest son of immigrant Italians, Dick continued working after high school, helping to support the family during the Depression. A member of the City League championship basketball team, he considered accepting a scholarship to Niagara University, when he was offered and accepted a full basketball scholarship to Notre Dame University. He graduated Salutatorian with a degree in English studies and had started graduate school and coaching Freshman basketball when the United States entered WWII. He joined the Navy and became a Lieutenant Commander, serving in the Naval Armed Guard escorting ships throughout the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea. In 1942, while attending a USO dance in Chicago, he met Dolly. They married in 1944 and raised four children.
Dick and Dolly moved to Ludington in 1950 when Dick became sales manager at Carrom Industries. In 1961, with long-time friend and colleague, Bob Erickson and Bill Meckler, the three left Carrom and founded Merdel Manufacturing where they built Carom boards and other assorted wooden games and furniture.
Buoyed by a life-long desire to stay active, Dick allowed his wife to drag him into skiing and sailing, and in spite of a broken leg and wet shoes he relished these times with his family. He took up golfing late in life and enjoyed the game, often walking courses well into his 80s. He was an aficionado of fine wines, good food, better books and great opera. Dick was a member of St. Simon's Church and The Knights of Columbus. His greatest joy outside of his family was his time at church and his loving friends who surrounded him there. Dick gave back to the community in his final years, mentoring children in the Lakeview Elementary reading program where his friends returned priceless gifts of love and support.