Allen  Zencka, MD

Allen E. Zencka, MD

Thursday, January 26th, 1939 - Wednesday, April 14th, 2021
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Allen Edward Zencka M.D. passed peacefully into eternal life April 14, 2021 with his loving wife Judith and his children at his side. Allen was born on January 26, 1939 in Chicago, IL to Dr. Edward and Edna (Zalewski) Zencka. As a first son, he was inspired to follow his father into the medical profession, practicing Cardiology for more than 40 years. Allen’s faith based education included Mount Carmel High School, Loyola University in Chicago and Creighton University in Nebraska. After teaching at Creighton for 20 years, he relocated to Southwestern Michigan. Based in St. Joseph, he created outreach cardiology clinics in area communities to meet the needs of rural patients. “Dr. Z” introduced cutting edge technology, performing the first Angioplasty in the area. He enjoyed sharing knowledge by providing education to physicians, nurses, patients and families.

Allen’s strong Catholic faith was evidenced in many ways, including his daily Mass attendance, as a member of the Knights of Columbus, and his support of the Readiness Center in Benton Harbor as a volunteer.

Allen was a lifelong learner and man of many interests. At his father's side, his love of fishing began at age 5. Fishing lakes and rivers throughout the United States, he enjoyed his annual fishing trip to Canada with family and friends. Deep sea fishing off Florida, including Key West, Hawaii and New Zealand was adventurous, but he most enjoyed frequent excursions on Lake Michigan with family and friends on his fishing boat. In the Fall he enjoyed watching his favorite football teams, the Fighting Irish and the Chicago Bears.

From his childhood Allen was a collector of stamps, coins and Lionel model trains. Allen was a master gardener, starting his plants from seed and enjoying the fruits of his labors. This interest expanded into farming, establishing Hill Road Vineyard in 1997.

Besides making his own wine, he provided merlot and pinot noir grapes to area wineries. His wine cellar reflected his appreciation of wines from around the world, sharing these with family and friends. He paired this love of wine with his gourmet cooking.

His love of the land was exceeded only by his love of flying, taking his first solo flight in 1993. Other interests included travel, photography, hiking and skiing.

Allen is survived by his wife Judith, children Judi (Chris Johnson), Eric Zencka and Dawn Zencka, stepchildren Randy (Mary Kay) Romeo, Joe (Beth) Romeo. Grandchildren Skyler, Shiloh (Ethan), Sydney, Grace, Micah, Aspen, Vita, Sierra, Jemma and Kai.
Allen was a loving and caring husband, father, grandfather, and friend. He bore his long illness with patience and fortitude. His faith never wavered. Allen will be remembered as a good man.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:30 A.M., Saturday, April 24, 2021 at St. Bernard’s Catholic Church, 555, E. Delaware Ave., Benton Harbor with Fr. James Adams officiating. Burial will follow at Riverview Cemetery in St. Joseph. Friends may visit with the family from 5:00 P.M. until 7:00 P.M., with the Rosary Recited at 7:00 P.M., Friday, April 23, 2021 at Starks & Menchinger Chapel and Cremation Service, 2650 Niles Rd., St. Joseph. Memorials may be made to the Readiness Center. Those wishing to share a memory of Allen online may do so at
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Service Details

  • Visitation

    Friday, April 23rd, 2021 | 5:00pm - 7:00pm
    Friday, April 23rd, 2021 5:00pm - 7:00pm
    Starks & Menchinger Chapel
    2650 Niles Rd.
    St. Joseph, MI 49085
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
    Rosary will be recited at 7:00 P.M.
  • Service

    Saturday, April 24th, 2021 | 10:30am
    Saturday, April 24th, 2021 10:30am
    St. Bernard's Catholic Church - Benton Harbor
    555 E. Delaware
    Benton Harbor, MI 49022
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email


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Private Condolence

Claudia Hanley

Posted at 05:56pm
Dr. Z was first a boss, then a friend to both of us. He was passionate about hearts, fishing, and wine but especially with people. He will always have a very special place in our hearts.
Claudia & Mike Hanley

Maureen Bishop

Posted at 06:16pm
My thoughts & prayers are with Dr. Zencka’s family. I worked with both he & Judy for many years. Take care!

Dr J Douglas Huggett D.O.

Posted at 03:48pm
Al was a great man. He was a great mentor,a great pysician,a great cardiologist and a great friend.
We will miss you Al. My sympathy to Judy and his entire family.
Dr Doug and April Huggett

Janelle Cornforth

Posted at 09:54pm
A good man. A kind and patient listener. A wise advisor. I was blessed to know him.
Janelle Cornforth

Pat Mauro

Posted at 02:57pm
Sending my sympathy to the entire Zencka family. I knew Dr. Zencka when he was a faculty member in the Cardiology Dept at Creighton Univ. in Omaha. Al was very passionate about his work and very instrumental in the development of the Arrhythmia Monitoring Service at St. Joseph Hospital. I am sorry to read of his passing. My thoughts are with all of you.

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