MADISON - Paul B. Zielke, age 45, passed away unexpectedly of natural causes on Monday, Feb. 15, 2016. Paul was born in Franklin Park, Ill., on Dec. 11, 1970.
He graduated from James Madison Memorial High School in 1989 and received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point in December 1996. He became a Certified Wilderness First Responder in March 2002. He later obtained a Master's Degree in Education from National-Louis University specializing in outdoor education, curriculum and instruction in May 2003.
Paul began his career at Toki Middle School (previously Orchard Ridge Middle School) as a 7th grade science teacher from August 1997 to June 2006. Early in his teaching career he was an autism therapist. Paul was instrumental in creating the experiential and environmental education programs for his students. He then, and most recently, worked at the American Red Cross as a Divisional Instructor-Integrated Development Trainer in blood services in Madison, Wis., over the past nine years.
Paul was passionate about so many things in life. He loved live music, camping, the outdoors, rock climbing, boating, fishing, travel and ecology. He had a special bond with his dog, Lady, who he rescued during one of his many Colorado adventures. He was an incredible mentor to his many friends, students, nieces and nephews through his kind, patient, humble and nurturing manner. His infectious love for life and laughter made him admired by all who were blessed to know him.
He is survived by his parents, Alan R. and Theresa R. Zielke of Madison, Wis.; sisters, Debra A. (John D.) Coaty of Highlands Ranch, Colo., and Alisa D. (Zachary) Steffen of Centennial, Colo.; nephews and nieces, Alexander, Matthew, Grace and Hannah Coaty, and Wayland and Camila "Millie" Steffen; and many close aunts, uncles and cousins.
A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 20, 2016, at JOYCE-RYAN FUNERAL HOME, 5701 Odana Road, Madison, with Father Bart Timmerman officiating. Visitation will be held from 11 a.m. until the time of service on Saturday at the funeral home.
In celebration of Paul's generous, giving spirit and in lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation in Paul's name to the Dane County Humane Society at www.giveshelter.org or make a blood or monetary donation to the American Red Cross at www.redcross.org giving the gift of life.
To view and sign this guestbook, please visit www.ryanfuneralservice.com to see photos and video tribute