John Michael Zirpola

John Michael Zirpola, 89, of Destin, Fla., formerly of Hurley, Miss., found eternal rest with Jesus on July 7, 2013. While sleeping at home in Destin, John passed away peacefully with family and loyal Rat-Terrier, Lizzie, at his side.

Born in Jersey City, N.J., on Sept. 26, 1924, John married Ilah Cunningham in 1949 after completing his Air Force duty in the South Pacific during WWII. The "love letters" sent between John and Ilah are filled with love, devotion and the expectation of living a happy life together. John's letters to Ilah read like a movie script from an estranged, yet faithful, "love-struck" Italian soldier from New Jersey, who had already found his southern 'bride-to-be' in Mississippi, when she was only 15!

John was of Catholic faith and served the church faithfully for many years. He was very active and a long-time member of the Knights of Columbus. John sold life insurance for 23 years in Fort Walton Beach, and formally retired in Mississippi from Metropolitan Life in 1989. He was known for his ability to talk to anyone, a gentle and loving nature, a keen sense of humor, and a passion for everything Italian.

Preceded in death by his parents, Michael John Zirpola and Antoinette Politano Zirpola, he is survived by sons, John Zirpola, Jr., of Fort Walton Beach, and Robert Daniel Zirpola of Wade, Miss., and daughter, Iris L. Freshwater and husband, Rick, of Destin. John is also survived by sisters, Jean Pitaccio, and Ann Marie Kohli and husband, Joseph; brothers, Vincent Zirpola, and Rocco "Sonny" Zirpola and wife, Jeanne, all of New Jersey.

John was blessed by his four grandchildren, Andrew Thomas Lawson, Michael Daniel Zirpola and wife, Elizabeth, Juliana Zirpola Zimmerman and husband, Jason, and Garrett Daniel Freshwater and fiancÚ, Mary Alice Teague; great-grandchildren, Jonathan David Zirpola and Alessandra Juliana Zirpola; great-niece, Amanda Capers; and Goddaughter, Anna Capers.

Special thanks are given to Eddie Christiansen for many years of true friendship and support; Cheryl Dean Jones for her compassion, bedside prayers and beautifully sung lullabies in John's final days; Diane Stewart and St. Ann's Catholic Church in Hurley, Miss.; Father Ryan McCoy of Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church in Biloxi, Miss.; and the local staff of The Manor at Bluewater Bay, Wellington Place of Fort Walton Beach, Amedisys Home Health and Hospice Care and Covenant Hospice of the Emerald Coast, all who made his final year dignified, enjoyable and beautiful.

Services will be held at 1 p.m. July 27 at St. Ann's Catholic Church in Hurley, Miss., with visitation at noon. Reception and refreshments will follow immediately at the church for sharing of wonderful memories and slideshow.

In lieu of flowers, those wishing to make contributions in honor of John are requested to donate to Covenant Hospice at 5041 N. 12th Ave., Pensacola, FL 32504, or online at

Harry James Robertson

On June 22, 2013, Harry James Robertson of Destin passed away. Before retiring to Destin, he lived in Wolcott, N.Y., and retired from Eastman Kodak in the early 1990's. Harry was born on Nov. 29, 1947.

Harry is survived by his wife, Nancy E. Robertson; daughter, Tammara D. Baltzell (Jeremy), Florida; son, Todd M. Robertson; two sisters; mother and adopted mother; and four grandchildren.

He is preceded in death by his father and adopted father, his first adopted mother, and his son, Troy J. Robertson.

A veteran of the United States Army, Harry retired from Kodak in the early 1990's. Upon retiring, he moved to Florida where he did two of the things that he enjoyed most: golfing and feeding the birds while lounging next to the pool. The friends who knew him knew Harry as a tender, kind-hearted man who everyone called the "the tan man."

A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Sept. 21 at the Wolcott Elks Club, Wolcott, N.Y. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial gifts in Harry's name be sent to the Destin United Methodist Church, 200 Beach Drive, Destin, FL, 32541.