Joseph Zavisca, 73, of South Bend, Indiana, died of pancreatic cancer on January 28, 2023 surrounded by family and loved ones.
Joe is survived by his 32-year-old wife Rose and children Christian Zavisca (Julie Wiest) of Norristown, Pa., Lauren (David) Tarr of Lebanon, Ohio, Julie Solmer (Mark) Stine of Cypress, Texas, Natalie Solmer (Ceyon Beckford) of Speedway, Indiana, Scott (Junko) Solmer of Clover, SC, and seven grandchildren: Bram, Emerson, Kymani, Beckett, Brodie, Alleon, and Alec.
Joe was an avid and accomplished golfer and joked that he would have liked to write for his obituary that he fought a lifelong battle with golf and won golf.
Joseph John Zavisca was born on April 15, 1949 in Buffalo, NY to Dr. Ernest and Sarah Zavisca, both of whom are deceased. He is also survived by his siblings, Frank, Ernie, and Mary.
Joe came to South Bend in the early 1980s to work as Transpo’s general manager. His career in the transportation industry spanned decades. From 1992 to 2000 he was President of Transportation Management Services, Inc. (TMSI) in Alexandria, Virginia and commuted weekly by plane from South Bend. He then worked as a freelance consultant for almost 15 years, primarily in the public transport sector. He was an expert in paratransit services and a passionate advocate for the transportation of people with disabilities. This advocacy included serving on government bodies and in key leadership roles in supporting people with disabilities.
In a late career change, Joe became first a volunteer and then full-time International Program Manager for the Tax Assistance Program at the University of Notre Dame, where he led tax preparation for more than 1,000 international students each year and research scholars serving members of the Notre-Dame community were. From 2020 to 2023, he worked as an independent tax advisor preparing tax returns for individuals, particularly non-US residents. His extensive pro bono work has included preparing taxes for many seniors.
Joe earned a Bachelor of Arts from the State University of New York at Buffalo in 1971 and a Master of Arts from Pennsylvania State University in 1974.
Joe has starred in and directed numerous theater productions throughout his life, including many for the South Bend Civic Theatre. He wrote his master’s thesis on the Stratford Festival, a renowned month-long theater festival in Ontario, Canada, and for many years traveled to Stratford annually to attend productions.
Joe was a collegiate golfer and sport remained a lifelong interest of his, whether it was chatting up the latest games and tables with his children and grandchildren or attending events both near and far, many with one close friend from his high school days, Dr Thomas Kelly from Milwaukee. An avid runner and walker for years, Joe has completed numerous 10k runs, 15k and half marathons.
Joe was particularly close to his immediate family and loved spending time with his loving wife Rose and his children and grandchildren. Their house was always filled with laughter and jolly talk, with Joe joining in when the grandchildren were hitting the soccer ball or playing soccer in the backyard.
Preparations are being made by St. Joseph’s Funeral Home. A private memorial service is planned for a later date.
Posted January 28, 2023
Published in South Bend Tribune