Ultimate Volunteer 'Uncle Pete' Passes Away

For decades, he has helped the homeless, and collected clothes and toy to distribute to poor mothers and children at West Side parishes.


For years, St. John Brebeuf Church in Niles has had "Uncle Pete" items in its bulletin. People were invited to make sack lunches for Uncle Pete to distribute to the homeless. They could also donate furniture, or clothes, or toys, which Uncle Pete would drive down to Catholic parishes on the West Side, to help out poor families and children--during the Christmas holidays and all year long.

Peter Zonsius, 90, passed away last night, St. John Brebeuf parish confirmed.  

'Uncle Pete,' as he was fondly known, was motivated in his charitable efforts by a great love for children, . And the Chicago Tribune wrote about him today after doing an in-depth feature on him on Christmas Day 2010.

Visitation will be Sunday, June 3 from 2 to 9 p.m. at , 7812 N. Milwaukee Ave., Niles. The funeral will be held Monday, starting at 9 a.m. at the funeral home, with a 10 a.m. Mass at 8305 N. Harlem Ave., Niles. Interment will be at All Saints Cemetery, 700 N. River Road, Des Plaines.

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Joanna Oliva June 01, 2012 at 06:15 PM
God Bless You Uncle Pete! We will all miss you dearly at SJB. I'm honored to have known you! We know you will be watching over us. Joanna Oliva
Joseph LoVerde June 01, 2012 at 08:31 PM
You go through life and meet many people, some stand out and others you have a hard time remembering their name. Uncle Pete is one of those people you will never forget. He touched the lives of so many people and he will be missed by all. If one could submit a resume for being a saint, Uncle Pete's resume is on top of the pile. Thank you for allowing me the honor of being your friend. I will miss that phone call on my birthday that you honored me with for 37 consecutive years. You are truly a special person that made life better for those less fortunate. Rest in peace and thank you, the LoVerde Family
Alfred Daoud June 02, 2012 at 08:08 PM
Uncle Pete, we love you and will miss you more than words can describe. You inspired me to do more with my hands to help those in need. The smallest things were a blessing when they came from you. Lunches for the homeless, clothes and food at the women's shelter, Uncle Pete cookouts, and Saturday morning drives to help people throughout Chicagoland, you never said no to anyone. I even remember the gift you gave me when I lost my first tooth, and hearing those keys jingle as you came down the hall. You always put a smile on people's faces with your presence alone. Please rest in peace now Uncle Pete and we know you are watching over all of your kids at SJB and throughout Chicago. Thank you for being our angel on earth. With deepest love, Alfred Daoud -91
Mary Kuffel June 04, 2012 at 04:10 AM
Thank you for posting this with the great photos and his voice recording. Uncle Pete was a living/walking Saint here on earth. God said his work here on earth is finally complete. He will be MISSED. Though his wife Barbara, his children Mary Lou/Tom, his extended family, friends, neighbors, and all the ministries and the volunteers will miss him, the ones who will truly miss him are the ones who haven't even heard he is no longer with us. Though Pete's ministry work will be continued with St. Vincent de Paul, men's club, parish family, etc, not everything will continue. We all know Pete did a lot of great ministry work,but he went above and beyond the established ministries. Pete knew of the person and family on the west side who needed a fan for the summer, or the widowed mom with several young children, and the men living under a certain viaduct in the city who needed food. These are the people who will truly miss Uncle Pete. Uncle Pete...We LOVE you!!! Thank you for being Jesus' hands and feet here on earth. Thank you for all you have done! Only our Lord knows how many thousand of hearts you have touched. And to his wife Barbara, thank you for sharing your special husband with so many other people. You too are a Saint for supporting Pete in his mission. Please keep Barbara, his family, and especially the poor and homeless people that Pete helped in your prayers. Uncle Pete...there are no good-byes, only....Until we meet again! As Pete always said..... "God Bless".
Ellen Fries June 05, 2012 at 05:56 PM
Uncle Pete showed us first hand what it means to be a minister of Jesus. He was a dedicated and fearless champion for those in need. I believe he is not done, now he has wings. God Bless Uncle Pete and eternal thanks to his family. The Fries Family


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