In Memory of Cazim Zabeli

August 16, 1917 - September 17, 2018

Resided in Utica, NY


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Cazim Zabeli passed away peacefully surrounded by family at home in Utica, NY on September 17, 2018 at the age of 101.

Cazim was born to Fetah and Hava Zabeli on August 16, 1917 in the Drenica village of Rezala, Republic of Kosovo, the youngest of 11 children. He was a political prisoner during WWII and interned in various Nazi labor camps including Natzweiler and Dachau from February 1943 until liberated by the US Army in Trostberg, Germany on May 5, 1945. For several years after the war he lived and worked in Germany and Austria. With Displaced Person status, he immigrated to the United States in 1952. He often told of his first job in the US being a dishwasher in a Howard Johnson’s restaurant making 50¢ an hour. He moved quickly to construction work, including on the Pennsylvania Turnpike where he learned cement masonry. In Harrisburg, he met his future wife, Margaret Rothermel. He eventually relocated to Buffalo, New York where he and his wife raised their five children. Cazim worked at the Linde Division of Union Carbide in Tonawanda, NY for 26 years before retiring in 1983. For a period of 12 years after retirement he and Margaret enjoyed an active life in southern California making numerous friends and watching their grandchildren grow. In 2001 they moved to the Mohawk Valley and in 2002 Margaret, Cazim’s beloved wife of 45 years, passed away.

Ever the adventurer, Cazim traveled throughout his life and especially in his retirement. He took numerous cross country road trips and journeyed many times to Kosovo and Europe taking gifts for family and friends. Cazim instilled in his children the importance of hard work, education, savings & investment, and fitness. He was practical but didn’t mind spending on things that he thought important like quality food and clothing. He was an industrious builder, completing extensive remodels in four homes throughout his life including his most recent at the age of 97. Late in life he donated the funds and supervised the construction of a mosque in the Kosovar home village of his mother.

He is survived by his loving second wife of 9 years, Sevdije, and step-daughter, Linda. He is also survived by three sons and two daughters; Brahim (Patrice) of Shorewood, MN; Agim (Margaret) of Norfolk, VA; Feta of New York City; Eva Kelly (Dean) of New Hartford, NY; and Naile of Utica, NY; six grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

A visitation will be held on Friday, September 28th, from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm at Freidel, Williams & Edmunds Funeral and Cremation Services, 13 Oxford Road, New Hartford, NY 13413 with internment at Forest Hill Cemetery, Utica the next morning at 10:00 am.

As was his wish, in lieu of flowers please send donations to the Friends of the ARC Foundation – Oneida Lewis Chapter, 245 Genesee Street Utica, NY 13501.