Judge Joseph Zieba- Guest Blog- Farewell my Friend

March 6, 2012 at 12:02 am 5 comments

Original Photo- Morning Journal

ED NOTE: Funeral Arrangements can be found here:

March 2, 2012
My Dear Judge Joe –
You have left our hearts in sorrow, and have gone where I can not follow.

I remember the first time I had met you. It was on the day the John Romoser was going to be appointed Interim Mayor. You wanted to speak that day, and you had a letter in your hand that you wanted to read. At that moment, I told my friend that I had to meet you and to see what it was you wanted to read.( still today, I wonder…what it was that you wrote).

I came to your office and introduced myself, and the rest is history. From that day on we became the best of friends. We would talk politics, and who was doing what and we worked hard on trying to help Nancy Smith get out of prison. Matter of fact, you gave me to read The Shame of Lorainon that very first visit I had with you in your office.

We shared many many conversations over dinner and a drink or two. You always said, “I’ll have what you’re having”.

The stories you shared…there were so many..and often repeated…( I might say…“you already told me that story!”…but I could tell you were having such fun revisiting those memories…I would listen again..and perhaps even recite it with you.

I don’t hardly remember a day that went by that I did not call you, or vise~versa. We went to visit my mother many times down South. You and she had developed a bond. I think she thought of you as an ‘old friend and perhaps even a boyfriend (the gentle soul that you are). You had a way to keep her calm when she was distressed. You also had that effect on me, as I would call you when I felt I had no where else to turn. You always made time and listened patiently. Such a gentle way, such a tender heart, such a joy for life, and friends. And now, you have left us feeling alone, and cold.

You my dear friend, have no idea how many lives you graced. You my friend do not realize how giving you are, and how that generosity changed SO many lives for the better. You never asked for anything in return. You never said “No, I will not.”

I will never look at an ice cream cone the same, or a sun ripened tomato nor a grapefruit. I remember many summer days I would pick you and we would go to “Affduncamps and Kriegs” for basket of ripe tomatoes and baskets of peaches then a large ice cream cone for you and a small on for me from Kriegs.

When I visit mother I will see you in her back yard as to see the grapefruit tree you planted for her…still young now..but bares a few fruit on that fragile young tree. You would go into the garage at mom’s house and stay in there for hours looking at all of my dad’s tools in amazement – that he had that much! “Come on Judge..get out of there it is hot, and time for lunch“..he’d say..”ok..one more minute…wait a minute“…dishes are washed and put away…no Judge.

I don’t know how this night could end in any such way that I will find peace or comfort. I don’t know how tomorrow can come that you won’t be my very first thought for I have thought about you for so many years and days now. I am sorry I could not say goodbye -you were not able to see or have visitors- so I cling on to our last conversations and see you sitting next to the pool at mom’s house, relaxing in the warm southern sunshine, and not having a care in the world.

I am feeling as I have lost a father. I know, I have lost my best friend. I will honor you always, and speak of you more. I hope when you see Ella you say kind things to her about me.. (just now the thunder rumbled)…maybe you are hearing me and seeing the tears stream down my cheeks…and that was your way to say, you are with your wife and everything is ok! Please be ok…and I will try my very best too. I love you always…

Your life is MOST WORTHY OF THE GRIEF I FEEL NOW. I AM PRIVILEGED TO HAVE THIS GRIEF and to honor you….those who do not grieve…do not know you.

With Adoration and love…chop chop!!…

Denise, Mom and Toby.May your wings lift you high


Entry filed under: death, grief, Link -ups. Tags: , , .

March 3rd- The Missing Teammate – Chris Ritchey Dear Mr. Romney et al – Give us a break

5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. muley  |  March 6, 2012 at 1:48 am

    So sweet of you, Denise. He’s in a place now where there is no suffering, perhaps along side my own Mother. Do not cry, he would want you to smile instead.

    peace, muley

  • 2. aka mozart  |  March 6, 2012 at 1:49 pm

    The flag will be flown half mast…during the Judge’s service. I was on the phone with Columbus and Commissioner Williams, along with the Mayor most of Monday. It is the only way I can find to honor his life,

    We would often talk about the flag that stood proud waving in the wind, tall and spotlighted. That flag pole had fallen down…and the pole ended up lying against the house with no flag . ( I believe it still lies there today).
    It was upsetting (to me),,and it was upsetting to the Judge. The flag that waved tall and in the wind in his front yard was gone. That flag represented everything to him…and i would bitch to myself every time i drove up his driveway.that the flag pole had not been resurrected.
    I now can hope to honor the Judge in a way that I think would make him proud….in a way that his life should be honored.

    Thank you Muley for your kind words..and Loraine for .posting this for me. I will come visit this post often and add a thought or feeling or two as time goes by. It will be comforting to know I have a soft place to land when i need to see Judge Joe’s wonderful smile.He had the bluest eyes…so clear..they almost glistened. My beautiful Judge Joe…i am learning to breathe all over again…

    He is my Hero, and he fought hard to stay alive and to try to overcome his illness.
    He never gave up…it just took him. but I do find comfort he had 87 years of a full and enchanting life. My life pales in comparrsion.
    Love you Judge….chop chop!

  • 3. aka mozart  |  March 11, 2012 at 1:51 pm

    March 10th, 2012

    Today, is the day of my Judge Joe’s burial. I feel a need to journal it as it is very profound to me.

    Friday morning, I awoke about 4:00 am feeling sick in my stomach. My body ached all over, and I felt I had just been hit with a semi truck. I knew right then and there, I was supporting a fever. I turned by electric blanket up so I would lay there shivering. I soon feel back asleep. Around 2pm I decided I better get myself to an urgent care center, as I wanted to nip this funk in the bud. I bundled up, and went to the care center…the on-care nurse told me to drink plenty of liquids and stay warm..and it will run it’s course. What no antibiotics? I didn’t need to get all dressed for that…I knew that much myself…so I came back home..had some more chicken broth, and went back into the warm bed.

    Then comes today…Saturday, the day of my best friend’s funeral. The day of unbearable grief. I threw on my warm sweat pants, and down parka. I grabbed my tissues, and a swig of cough syrup, and into the car I went. I pulled into the parking lot of city hall next to the funeral home to where my Judge lay. The flag in front of city hall was flying at half-mast. It was just before 10:00 am. I watched as the mourners walked into the funeral home…some hand in hand..some with their arms around their loved one, and others just walked alone. I was at a safe enough distance that no one would see me. The tears were falling so hard down my jacket, it was becoming wet. I kept telling myself….”shhhhhhhhh” as if someone was going to hear be sobbing. About 10:30 or so, Judges family and friends were making their decent, and onward to the church.

    I instead, had proceeded on to Ridge Hill Cemetery. As heading South on Oberlin
    Avenue, I had noticed a Honor Guard next to me. I knew at that moment I was going to follow him. I knew where he was going…and for a minute, I did not feel alone with my despair.

    There were many guardsmen waiting for the procession. I parked in a distance where I could see, but not so easily seen. I had my little ocular, and I was able to see a little closer with the help of the 10X magnification. I could see the tent and where the Judge would be laid to rest. The sun through the car window was warm on my tear stained face. It did give me comfort, when everything else was so cold. My fever had come down, and the sun really was extra special, due to I still had some body chills…but coping well.

    Perhaps it was about 11:41 I saw the procession coming into the cemetery. Now, my senses were on high alert. There was Judge Joe, with long white limousines to follow with the procession behind.

    The moment of truth was becoming more clear. This was it! All the cars circled around. Doors were opening, and family and friends were getting out. I asked myself, “What are you doing over here denise”? I tried to start the car, but everytime I put the key to the ignition, I pulled it away. I just felt I had to do it in my way, and alone. So that is what I had decided.

    The Honor Guards fired 3 shots into the air. (breathe denise…breathe). The mourners remained gathered, as I prayed in my solitude. It all seemed to be happening very quickly, soon the gathered were now going back to their cars. I had recognized many faces. I saw Joes’ brother Eddie, and Mitch Fallis. Mike Schreach and his wife..Richard and many more.

    The cars were now all pulling away. At about 1:34 the truck filled with dirt was approaching. I pulled closer with my car, as I wanted to be closer to the judge. I didn’t want him to be alone, now that all have left. The workers at the cemetery got busy. It was just another grave site to them…just another day on the job. It made me sad that it was so impersonal…but how could I expect different. The tent came down, and the flowers were thrown over the newly dug grave .I wanted to get out of my car and yell…”hey show some respect..that is a Judge and my friend!!!”! I kept silent. All workers now left. 1:43 all workers gone.

    I now had my chance to be alone and grieve. I could get out of my car and be with my friend, alone and personal. That is how I had to do it…but then I noticed there was a car that had not left that funeral procession. The young man pulled closer to the site, and he got out of his car. He stood alone and in prayer. Then he walked back and forth. I wanted to approach him, but I realized he too, wanted his private time with the Judge. I stayed back and waited for him to leave. He was the last one to leave, other than myself.

    I pulled my car around, and got out. I touched the flowers, and cried. I wrote a short little note to him and left in near the mound of fresh flowers. I placed a small stone on top, so that it might stay with him for a bit. It seemed almost impossible for me to leave. I just wanted to stay and keep him company. How could I leave my friend alone, but then I looked over and saw his wife’s stone next to him ‘ZIEBA’…and I realized he was not alone…not then…not now….not ever.

    In memory of my beloved judge Joe.

    denise marie caruloff

  • 4. Loraine Ritchey  |  March 11, 2012 at 4:37 pm

    Denise I know how hard you worked for the flag at City Hall to be flown at half mast out of respect for Judge Zieba – I know that it was your way to honor your friend. I am glad that happened and hope that knowing you accomplished that special honor will help you through the “missing time” Loraine

  • 5. aka/mozart  |  June 16, 2012 at 11:38 pm

    My dear Judge Joe….i can not believe how the days have passed…i drive past your home most everyday to work…and i look and see your car…but your not there.
    Tomorrow is fathers day…..i.sent a card to your house….i had to do it..even thou you are not there to read. I miss you every day….there is not a day that you do not cross my mind…and i have found myself from time to time..thinking for a moment..oh..i have to call judge and tell him…then i realize. I went and got some icecream from Kreigs today…along with some veggies…the beets looked good,,and i know you would have bought them. so tomorrow…you and dad wil be front and center in my head…i miss and love you both.
    always denise…6-16-2012

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed

Recent Comments


Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 189 other followers

March 2012
« Feb   Apr »