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In the highlight of his military career, John Zorack sat in the presidential reviewing stand with President Richard Nixon at Nixon's 1962 inauguration.
East County Wednesday, Mar. 13, 2013 4 years ago

Your Neighbor: John Zorack

by: Josh Siegel Staff Writer

John Zorack remembers everything so that his grandchildren never wonder, “What did Grandpa do?”

Grandpa did a lot.

Zorack is an 87-year-old Mote Ranch resident; a veteran of World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War; and the son of Ukrainian and Italian immigrants. He spent much of his childhood in the Myron Stratton Home — a Colorado Springs, Colo.,-based home for dependent children created by philanthropist Winfield Scott Stratton — after Zorack’s father was crushed in a mine, too crippled to care for his son.

In 1962, Zorack, then a colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps, served as a military aide to former Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield during President Richard Nixon’s inauguration.

Following his military career, Zorack became a successful lobbyist and helped to pass the Airline Deregulation Act.

On what former Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield said to him and how the Marines reacted to Zorack sitting in the presidential reviewing stand: “(Mansfield) was a man of very few words. He told me, ‘Tell me what to do, colonel.’ A few days later I was called into the office and my commander said, ‘What the hell were you doing in there, Zorack?’ I said, ‘Like a good Marine, I was just following orders.’”

On the key to being a successful lobbyist: “I never met a person I couldn’t like. I study people’s background before I meet them.”

On his wife of 64 years, Joanne: “She’s my partner. She’s the one who pushed me to do all this stuff.”


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