Personal Giving Stories
Ruth (Thomason) Zellar graduated from Hirsch High School in Chicago. She graduated from the U of I with a degree in LAS in 1943. While at Illinois, she was a member of Alpha Xi Delta. Some of her fondest U of I memories are the U of I dances and formals that were prevalent in those days.
Donald Zellar came to the U of I from Plano, Ill., in 1940, but enlisted in the Air Force to serve his country in 1942. Over the course of the next two years, he flew 35 missions in a B-17 bomber as a radio operator. Upon being discharged, Don and Ruth were reunited and married in 1945.
Don then embarked on a successful business career. He spent time with ACNielsen, Johnson & Johnson, and Oscar Mayer and retired from Bob Evans Farms in 1975 as vice president of operations.
Over the years, Don and Ruth have been avid golfers and may hold a record for the number of cruises they have been on. Today, most of all, they cherish time spent with their family. Their son Ron and his wife Conni have one son, Ryan; their daughter Mimi and her husband Brian have twin daughters, Lauri and Stacey. The Zellars make their home at Sun City Hilton Head in South Carolina.
Ruth and Don Zellar are very special friends of the U of I, and we are deeply grateful for their generosity in providing support to help ensure a future at Illinois as brilliant as the past.
The U of I Foundation gift planning staff is pleased to answer your questions and offer assistance at any time. Please contact the Foundation to learn more.
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