Obituary

Zack Zerphy, adventurer, musician, writer, and joke-teller

Zack Zerphy, 28, of Hartland, Vermont died unexpectedly in Cleveland, TN on May 17,2020.  

In 2012, Zack’s inexhaustible curiosity and pirate-like wanderlust led him to pack his mandolin, a few clothes, and a toothbrush and set out to see the world. He was proud to have visited 49 of the 50 US States and could eagerly launch into stories of his experiences criss-crossing the country riding freight trains. Once, a cowboy passed him playing on a street in Texas and invited him to perform for his church service- Zack and his friends inspired the congregation with original songs the next morning. On a beach in Maui he saw a whale breach the ocean and arc directly over the rising sun. He had an unbridled sense of adventure- his desire to do, see, and experience was limitless, as was his capacity for love and laughter. 

Known for his infectious laugh, Zack was an expert joke teller. Apt to laugh explosively – even at his own jokes – his journals were filled with ideas for stand-up routines, cartoon strips, and sketches. Long car rides consisted of re-enactments and re-imaginings of Abbot and Costello’s “Who’s on First.” He had a zeal for creating improbable and memorable phrases, such as “each of both” (his response when asked which flavor of ice cream he’d like). 

A prolific and mainly self-taught musician, Zack played violin, trumpet, banjo, harmonica, guitar, and mandolin, on which he developed original strumming patterns based on the rhythms of trains. A lover of bluegrass, heavy metal, and folk music, he loved giving impassioned and detailed explanations about the complexities of different musical genres. 

Zack’s expansive community of loving friends and family around the world will remember him as a writer, a poet, a backwoods snowboarder, a pirate, a lover of dogs and cows, a musician, a farmer, a friend, a brother, and a son. What remained constant throughout his extraordinarily full life was the intensity with which he lived and loved, his fierce sincerity, and his capacity to dream. 

Donations may be made in Zack’s name to www.lifecomesfromit.org., your local animal shelter, or food shelf.


Family Information

Zack is survived by his mom Jan Crow, sister Olivia Zerphy, his dad, Michael Zerphy, step-mom Peggy Stone, half-sister Zofia Zerphy, step-brothers Casimir and Xavier Stone, and numerous loving Aunts, Uncles, Cousins and Friends. 

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