Appalachian Telemark Association

In Loving Memory of our Friend
John "Jack" "Yak-Yak" Zoppetti

Jack was a son, a brother, an uncle, chef, a skier, a climber, a biker...
but most of all Yak-Yak was someone we called FRIEND!!!


John R. Zoppetti - Latrobe, PA
John R. "Jack""Yak-Yak" Zoppetti, avid skier and golfer, 49, of Latrobe, died Tuesday, July 22, 2003, at home, after a courageous battle with renal cell carcinoma. He was born Oct. 24, 1953, in Latrobe, a loving son of John and Jeanne (Novack) Zoppetti. He graduated from Latrobe Area High School in 1971 and was employed by Pittsburgh Plate Glass Industries for 21 years. He earned his bachelor of science degree in management information systems at Robert Morris College in 1996, and held several positions as a computer programmer. He was last employed by R&L Development Inc., New Alexandria. He was a lifelong member of St. Vincent Basilica, Unity Township. A passionate skier, he was the founding treasurer of the Appalachian Telemark Association, a member of the Mon Valley Ski Club, Shenandoah Ski Club and the Pittsburgh Ski Club. Taught by his father to golf as a teen, he was a longtime member of the B.P.O.E. in Latrobe and a past member of the Ligonier Country Club. A loving and loyal brother, besides his parents, he is survived by two brothers, Gary Zoppetti, of Pittsburgh and Gregg Zoppetti and his wife, Maggie, of Latrobe; and a sister, Lisa Zoppetti Fischbach and her husband, Michael, of Ashburn, Va. He adored his six nieces and nephew, Kelsie, Lexie, Micaela and Chayce Zoppetti and Tara, Grace and Sophia Fischbach. The family would like to extend gratitude to all of Jack's friends and family who shared so much love and support throughout his illness. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions to the Westmoreland Hospice.

A Tribute to Yak-Yak
by Cathy Colwell

On behalf of the Seven Springs "Regulars" as we were once known, we were Jack’s friends for every season, along with his sports for all seasons, and he managed to get hurt in every one of them. Some of our Yak-Yak stories and memories were:

Jack started each year cooking pork and sauerkraut for the mountain - a New Year’s Tradition. He set the timers and when we came back from skiing that day, he had a delicious meal waiting for us.

On the ski slopes, he was a bump skier, a ski racer, a telemark skier,in bumps and races, and he was the master of linked recoveries!

Jack knew one speed - full tilt, and he did each sport "all out", which meant that he sometimes crashed or skied out of a racecourse that he couldn’t finish because he was out of control.

Jack had a strong faith and when some of us would waver on a nice, sunny Sunday, a day like today, skiing rather than going in to Mass for an hour, he called us "heathens", can you believe that?

On our Western ski trips, we always hoped we could be in condos rather than hotel rooms, because then at least once during the week, Jack would cook us a pasta dinner. He was a particular, exacting chef, with two main ingredients - Rolling Rock beer and garlic. He served "Chablis Blanc" with the meal. Good memories!

In the spring, we’d get out the mountain bikes and ride all over those hills. Most times, we knew where we were, other times, we’d all get lost. Yak generally was ahead of the group, athletic and well-conditioned, but often times crashing due to his "all or nothing" approach to this sport as well. He was always outdoors, running, walking or exercising.

Through the summer, there was golf. He’d play, talk about it and watch it on TV. He made clubs, worked on his game, and again, that drive and determination to do well served him well in golf.

Yak didn’t miss important parties, days on the river or lake, camping trips or other sociable events. His personality wasn’t always outgoing, but he sure had a lot of fun! Hooge, Kenny or Hough could always make him smile, even lately. He was a Buck Ridge neighbor, a locker-mate and most of all a very good friend to many of us. He was always there for us.

Yak could be found in the green sleeping chair at the cabin - once you sat down, it drew you in and put you to sleep, but he could wake up and pick right back up where he left off.

Jack was a very special, important friend to us - he may have only lived 49 years, but he fit more into that 49 years than many people do with a lot more time.

Skiing on separate slopes, with trees in between, or on the chairlift to a skier, we would use an unusual sound to know where each other were. So Yak - from us, we’re sending this one more time - oooh, oooh.....

We love you, and we’re really going to miss you, Yak.


Click on an image to enlarge

As a son
As a son
As a son
As a brother
As a brother
As a brother
As a friend
As a friend
As a uncle
As a chef
As a chef
As a chef
As a guest
As a guest
As a sport
As a golfer
As a climber
As a skier

It is said that those departed - live on - through the memory's of those they left behind....

Jack - friend, you will always be with us!!!


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