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Robert J. Zajac – The frontman of Gloversville Herald

Slingerlands – Bob Zajac passed away suddenly and peacefully, his family by his side, at Albany Medical Center on May 28, 2022 after a brief battle with very rapid onset pneumonia. He was born in Syracuse, NY on June 4, 1947, the son of the late Joseph J. Zajac, Jr. and Helen Palladino Zajac. He grew up in Solvay, NY and graduated from the University of Potsdam with a BA in Psychology. In Potsdam he was a proud member of the Sigma Tau Psi fraternity where he met many men who became lifelong friends. He received his Masters in Early Childhood and Special Education from Russell Sage College.
Bob worked as a special education teacher at BOCES and the Tryon School for Boys in Johnstown, NY. He became the first executive director of Liberty ARC in Amsterdam, NY. Bob was a talented ball player and loved playing basketball and softball during his days in Johnstown and Amsterdam. he was always up for a pickup game. He also played as a catcher for the Colonials, a semi-professional football team in the Capital Region. Bob would get together at least once a year with his old basketball and softball friends to relive the good times. It was often said: “the older we get, the better off we are!”
In 1973, Bob began his 22-year career with the NYS Department of Education as a rehabilitation facility specialist, working at One Commerce Plaza, Albany. He had a satellite office at Lexington ARC in Johnstown, adjacent to the backyard of his new home in Gloversville. In 1984, while surveying facilities in the Adirondacks, Bob met Nancy E. Cannon (Nan). Bob taught Nan how to fly fish and they spent many happy hours by the water. Bob decided Nan was “a sitter” and they were married on September 19, 1987, at Christ Episcopal Church in Cooperstown, NY. The reception was held on the shores of Lake Otsego. Bob and Nan planned to celebrate their 35th wedding anniversary in September.
Bob has been an avid athlete and sportsman all his life. He trapped, hunted, fished and played golf. He was very fond of hunting in the Adirondacks and was a member of camps at Cook Brook, Fox Hill and Lake Desolation.
Bob was an avid fly fisherman and fly tier. He fished small and large trout streams and was a regular on the Delaware River when the March Browns hatched. He traveled to the Gaspé to fish for Atlantic salmon in the rivers of Quebec. He loved the people and the culture and when he was in these often remote rivers he was in heaven on earth. Bob made friends everywhere he went and kept them all his life.
Every summer for more than 20 years, the family traveled to Martha’s Vineyard where Bob and Nan fished for striped bass off the beaches after the sun went down. Bob was always trying to perfect the ideal sand eel pattern and fished all night so he could experience the early morning blitz of the stripers at sunrise. Nan accompanied Bob on his many forays into fields and streams, hunted and fished alongside him, and became his favorite golfing partner.
Bob has mentored many up-and-coming salmon anglers and energetically shared his love and expertise for the sport. He had a never-ending sense of humor, delivering irreverent jokes and engaging stories in a voice worthy of an FM radio host. His inner hobby, besides tying flies, was to write mood, humor and technical pieces. He has published two dozen articles over the years in the international magazines Atlantic Salmon Journal and Eastern Woods and Waters. He wrote hunting and fishing chapters for six books published by Northeast Sportsman’s Press and Stackpole Books, always relying on his wife for review and editing.
Bob is survived by his wife Nancy E. Cannon and their children Charles Alexander Zajac and Valerie Aniela Zajac; his sons by his first wife Judith Markulus, Mark Allen Zajac and David Christopher Zajac (Aubrey); his sister Barbara Pagano (Jean); his brother Joseph J. Zajac III (Eugenia Dean); several nieces, nephews and 2 grandchildren.
Bob will be cremated and buried in Cooperstown at a private family burial service later this summer. Bob’s sister-in-law, Reverend Eugenia Dean, will officiate. Ashes will also be scattered near his four favorite places: the Adirondacks, Gaspé, the Delaware River and Martha’s Vineyard. In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate donations made in Bob’s honor to Guilderland Emergency Medical Services, 200 Center Drive, Albany, NY 12203.
To leave a special message for the family online, visit www.NewComerAlbany.com.


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