Henry “Zank” Charles Negilski, Jr., passed away on Sunday, February 7, 2021 at Munising Memorial Hospital after a brief illness. He was 87 years old. Born July 16, 1933 in Munising, son of Henry and Irene (Rutherford) Negilski, Zank was a lifelong Munising resident with ties to almost everything that went on in the community.
Because of a learning disability, Zank was not able to attend high school, but he more than made up for it during his lifetime. From being a manager for the Mustang High School basketball team (which went on for a couple of decades) to working at the paper mill then to equipment manager for the Silver Echoes Drum and Bugle Corps. While doing all of that, Zank was a member of the volunteer Munising Fire Department for over forty years.
Zank’s presence seemed to always bring a smile to people’s faces, yet he had his moments when the opposite was true. One particular incident that fit that criteria was when he threw a towel at a referee in a basketball game which drew a technical foul and needless to say, the coach was not please with his action. Zank’s forte in his basketball career, was being the “Gum Guy. Need a piece of gum – see Zank. After his managerial career ended, he became the statistician’s transportation director, by his own interpretation of that roll.
Zank’s career, for over forty years, working at the paper mill as a mailman, put more miles on his feet than 100 people working on the floor. His demeanor and pranks endeared him to one and all. At Christmas time for many years, he would dress in ridiculous outfits just to get a laugh out of everybody. Never a dull moment when Zank was around, yet he was only being himself.
The pride of his life was being a fireman and he did that for over 40 years. Zank could be seen on the top of the firetruck for many years during the 4th of July parade and then getting knocked down on his keister, all 95 pounds of him during the water fights later that day. The Munising Fire Department honored him two years ago by again placing him on top of the firetruck during the 4th of July parade.
The church was most important in his life and Zank was a faithful member of Sacred Heart Church and a devoted altar server. It was what molded him into the person he was. His love of God followed him day and night. Being of service to the community was the outgrowth of that. Becoming a 4th Degree Knight of Columbus with his dad was a highlight in his life.
As with the church, his involvement with the City of Munising went unnoticed. Mainly because the City Manager never knew he was a volunteer employee! If there was a project from cleaning out the sewers to city construction projects, Zank was there. Over the years he became known as the “City Sidewalk Superintendent.” Again, he was always being of service to the community.
During his lifetime, he also had time to raise a son and create a family life.
Zank is survived by his son – Clifford (Shannon) Negilski of Munising; sister – Patricia (David) Daulton of Louisville, KY; and his brother – Robert Negilski of Munising; and niece Penny Daulton. He was preceded in death by his parents, Henry and Irene.
Visitation will be on Wednesday at the Bowerman Funeral Home from 4:00 until 8:00 p.m. During the visitation at the funeral home, Covid precautions and attendance regulations will be observed as directed by the MDHHS. Masks will be required and the funeral home staff with be assisting with social distancing and the 25-person attendance restriction. To help with compliance and if able, if you last name begins with A-F, please attend between 4:00 and 5:00. If your last name begins with G-L, please come between 5:00 and 6:00. If last name begins with M-S, please attend between 6:00 and 7:00, and if your last name begins with T-Z, please attend from 7:00 until 8:00.
Zank’s Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated by Father Michael Ocran on Thursday, February 11, 2021 at 11:00 a.m. at Sacred Heart Church in Munising. Interment will take place at Maple Grove Cemetery later this year.
Memorial contributions may be directed to the Alger County Commission on Aging or the Munising Volunteer Fire Department.
A graveside service will be held on Thursday, September 2, 2021 at the Maple Grove Cemetery. Committal Prayers will begin at 10:00 a.m.