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Betty Joy Wagner Zeni

BETTY JOY WAGNER ZENI: Deceased June 29, 2013

Nashville, Tennesse

Betty Joy Wagner Zeni was born on March 3, 1926, in Chicago, Illinois.  The family moved to Flossmoor, Illinois, several years later.


She was a graduate of The University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, attended the University of Chicago College and Vassar College where she graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree, and Katharine Gibbs Commercial College.


Soon after graduating from Katharine Gibbs she was hired by Marshall Field and Company where her career spanned more than thirty-five years in numerous executive positions with the company.


In 1974 she married Ferdinand J. Zeni, an attorney with Montgomery Ward and Company.  Extremely active in Chicago Republican politics, The Zenis served as poll watchers and worked on numerous political campaigns, including the Presidential campaigns of Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan.  After Mr. Zeni became the 43rd Ward Republican Committeeman, Mrs. Zeni worked with her husband in the ward headquarters.


After retiring from Marshall Field and Company, Mrs. Zeni became office manager for the Chicago Journal, an independent newsweekly serving the Southside of Chicago.  And following her work with the Chicago Journal, she worked several years with Leslie Hindman Auctioneers.


She was an enthusiastic volunteer in a number of organizations including Gold Coast Neighbors, The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago History Museum, and the Vassar College Alumni Association.


Mrs. Zeni was preceded in death by her parents Elizabeth Cecelia McGeeny Wagner and Percy Evan Wagner; her sister Mary Louise Wagner Forrester and her great nephew, Wilson Waters Forrester.


Following her husband’s death, Mrs. Zeni relocated to Nashville, Tennessee, in 2002.


She is survived by 2 nieces, 1 nephew, 3 great nieces and 2 great nephews.


A “Celebration of Life Ceremony” and burial of her ashes will be held in Betty Joy Zeni’s honor on Saturday, July 27, 2013 at Wild Rose Farm (19301 North Copple Lane, Dix, Il 62830) in Dix, Illinois beginning at 11am CDT.  All those who knew and loved Betty Joy Zeni are welcome to attend.  Please RSVP to let us know that you will be attending at chipforrester@hotmail.com [1].


In lieu of flowers, Vassar College is Betty Joy Zeni’s designated charity.