John's Story

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John Peter Zender, 62, passed away on February 10th at St. Mary's Hospital in Rochester due to complications from a heart transplant. His wife and sons were by his side.
A Celebration of Life will be held on Sunday, February 25 from 2:00-6:00 p.m. at Northview-North Mankato Mortuary.
John was born in Mt. Lake, MN on March 31st 1955 to John and Ardyce (Gustafson) Zender and graduated from Butterfield High School in 1973.
After high school, John worked at Windom Kawasaki as a mechanic. John married Julie (Frederickson) on January 3rd of 1976 and had two boys, Nathan and John Michael (Jay).
Windom, Burnsville, Arizona, and Hopkins were just a few of the places that John worked while pursuing his dreams in the motorcycle industry. John enjoyed vacations to Estes Park with his boys and extended family spending time hiking, swimming, and riding motorcycles. He loved the mountains and often talked about going back.
On September 11th of 1999 John married Wanda (Benson) of Mapleton. John was a loving husband, father and grandfather. Cold winters were made bearable with trips to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.
John was a passionate motorcycle enthusiast, racer, and technician. In his twenties he once held a motorcycle land speed record at the Bonneville Salt Flats. He also was the proud business owner of Starr Cycle in North Mankato, 1990 to present. Nate joined him there in 2008 and his brother, David, in 2010. John, Jay, and Wanda taught motorcycle safety for many years. Whether racing bikes, playing cards or pool, John beat the odds in life.
John was his own man in every sense. He lived honestly and did things on his own terms. He could banter better than all of us (and enjoyed every minute of the conversation), loved being silly with his grandchildren, and lived his life through his passions. The hole in our hearts is huge and overwhelming at the moment - luckily, we have amazing memories to fill it.
Johnny Pete was preceded in death by his parents, John Frederick and Ardyce. He was surrounded in life by his wife of 18 years, Wanda; his sons, Nate and Sadie of North Mankato and Jay and Laura of St. Peter; his grandchildren, Aidan, Eleanor, Harper, and Edison; his siblings, Carol Wentzlaff of Butterfield, Susan (Al Cassidy) of Park Rapids, and David of Mankato; extended family members Julie Christensen, and her daughter, Hannah.
Published on February 20, 2018
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