Chester W. Zorecki, a West Toledo businessman and an award-winning marksman whose metal-detecting skills led to artifacts that confirmed the true location of the Fallen Timbers battlefield, died on Tuesday in Ebeid Hospice Residence, Sylvania. He was 84.
He was in ill health the last year, his daughter, Deborah Mark, said. He’d lived in the Lake Park nursing facility after a major stroke eight years ago. He moved from the house in front of his business, the Rubber Stamp Shop.
He received a bachelor’s degree in business from the University of Toledo, which he attended on the GI Bill. He found a job after he graduated, “but he just did not like having to answer to other people,” said Juanita Zorecki, his former wife. “He was independent and a good worker.”
An article about the potential of rubber-stamp businesses caught his attention. He hired a retired typesetter as a mentor and adviser and in 1958 started the Rubber Stamp Shop. The firm’s customers were individuals and large operations.
“He loved being able to know here was something he himself created from the ground up,” his daughter said. “He always prided himself on quick turnaround and excellent work. He wouldn’t let anything go out of the shop that wasn’t perfect."
He gave up hunting early in life but maintained his interest in rifle shooting and gained accuracy through practice and determination.
"He was someone who if he was going to do something, by golly, he was going to do it better than anybody else," his daughter said.
He took part in the national rifle matches at Camp Perry and was a six-time member of the Ohio highpower-rifle champion team and a former member of the trophy-winning U.S. team. In 1969 he was awarded the U.S. Distinguished Rifleman medal.
Metal detecting sprung from the source of his other avocations, including organic gardening and support of earth-friendly causes long before they were in vogue.
He took metal-detecting expeditions to Europe and North Africa. A rare Roman coin was among his finds. In 1995, he was among volunteers who used their equipment to detect uniform buttons, musketballs, rifle shot, and other bullets in a Maumee farm field.
The artifacts were mapped and a team led by G. Michael Pratt, then of Heidelberg University, established that the Battle of Fallen Timbers was fought at the northwest corner of I-475/U.S. 23 and U.S. 24.
“He was somebody who played a major role,” said Mr. Pratt, now an administrator at Miami University. “It was one of the first big projects in Ohio where metal detectors worked with professional archaeologists to map and locate artifacts that were going into a scientific collection.”
He was a 1945 graduate of Whitmer High School. He was drafted into the Army and served in in the military police stateside at the end of World War II. He was recalled to service during the Korean War and was in an artillery unit in Korea.
Surviving are his daughter, Deborah Mark; brother, Robert Zgorecki, and two grandsons.
Visitation will be from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday in the Sujkowski Funeral Home Northpointe, where American Legion Post 335 will lead a service at 7 p.m. The funeral will be at 10:30 a.m. Saturday in the mortuary. The family suggests tributes to Ebeid Hospice Residence or a charity of the donor's choice.
Contact Mark Zaborney at: