DAVIS, CA - Arthur H. Zalkan, who was an award-winning reporter for the Springfield Newspapers in Springfield, MA for nearly 4 decades, passed away June 9 in Sacramento, CA with his daughter Marilyn Clark by his side. Zalkan was born in Bangor, ME, the son of the late Elsie Zalkan Stern and Ralph C. Zalkan. He graduated from Bangor High School in 1952. After serving as a paratrooper and medic in the US Army's 11th Airborne Division, he graduated from the University of Maine at Orono in 1961 with a BA in biology. At Orono, he was sports editor for the campus newspaper and yearbook, as well as a member of Tau Epsilon Phi fraternity. After graduation, he worked for several newspapers before landing a job at the Springfield Newspapers in 1962, where he would work until retirement in 1996. As a reporter, he covered local police and fire departments, labor unions, and wrote a weekly local interest column called Just Folks for many years. In 1968, the National Highway Safety Council recognized him with an award for a series of articles he wrote about motorist safety. The Massachusetts American Legion also cited him for a series about closing the Soldiers' Home in Holyoke during the 1970s. In 1980, Zalkan received the Heimlich Medal for saving the life of a choking victim. He was also recognized by the Western Massachusetts Lung Association for the achievement.
Zalkan married Barbara Freeman on December 23, 1962 and remained married until her death on November 12, 2000. They had three children, Brett, of Seattle, WA, Marilyn Clark, of Woodland, CA, and Ira of Jacksonville, FL. He is also survived by three grandchildren, Joshua and Matthew Zalkan of Jacksonville, and Sofia Zalkan of Seattle. For nearly 20 years, Zalkan also worked as a lecturer for Weight Watchers International, conducting meetings throughout the area in Springfield, East Longmeadow, Chicopee, Holyoke, Northampton, Palmer, and Ware in Massachusetts. Zalkan belonged to the Samuel D. Sherwood Masonic Lodge in Springfield, MA and served as its worshipful master in 1973. He joined the Masons while serving the Army, at Fort Benning Lodge in Macon, GA.
He was a member of Sinai Temple in Springfield, MA and will be buried alongside his wife at Sinai Memorial Park on Wednesday June 17th in Springfield, MA. Memorial contributions can be made to the Front Street Animal Shelter, 2127 Front St., Sacramento, CA 95818, sacpetsearch.com or to the Springfield Rescue Mission, 19 Bliss St., POBox 9045, Springfield, MA 01102, hope4springfield.org.