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Obituary Stories

Longtime Southwest Greensburg resident was definition of hard-working man

Jeff Himler
| Thursday, March 1, 2018, 11:00 p.m.
Darryl Zane Aebi
Darryl Zane Aebi

Zane Aebi's work ethic and initiative became apparent as he grew up on a farm in Coal Center and attended California High School in Washington County.

“My grandmother called him her little entrepreneur,” his son Kurt said. “He bought a couple milk cows from somebody and he grew a herd from them.”

According to his son, Zane had similar success with border collies. Initially training one pup to herd cattle, he bought others that he trained and sold and eventually trained dogs for other owners.

“It was just uncanny how they would listen to him,” Kurt Aebi said, recalling how his father could direct the dogs with simple hand motions.

Darryl Zane Aebi, 84, best known to his friends as Zane and to family as “Pappy,” died Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018, in North Springfield, Vt., where he was staying with his daughter while struggling with pulmonary and cardiac conditions. He was born Oct. 28, 1933, a son of Jerry and Madeline Aebi.

A longtime resident of Southwest Greensburg, Mr. Aebi worked for nine years at the U.S. Steel wire mill in Donora and for close to 35 years at Kennametal, serving as a United Auto Workers representative and retiring as a journeyman machine repairman.

When he was laid off, Mr. Aebi worked as a local handyman, making home repairs and installing windows — skills he passed along to his children.

“He was the definition of a hard-working man,” Kurt Aebi said, noting he expected his children to perform all the necessary work to replace a neighbor's window they broke while playing football.

Son Jeffrey, who lives in Florida, recalled how his father via long-distance phone conversations diagnosed his car problem and talked him through installing a rebuilt alternator.

“Whatever would break, he would find a way to fix it himself,” Jeff Aebi said. He noted his father used a basement lathe to make metal replacement parts.

Mr. Aebi was instrumental in forming the Southwest Greensburg Recreation Board and a local Junior Legion baseball program. He also served as a Little League coach and umpire.

A longtime member of the Bushy Run Lions Club, he took charge of the food at its semiannual chicken barbecue events.

Keeping busy in retirement at his second home in Greene County, he kept beehives and sold the honey. He also enjoyed hunting pheasant, gardening and canning.

Mr. Aebi is survived by children Zana and Kurt and his wife, Karen, all of North Springfield, Vt., and Jeffrey and his companion, Fae Jones, of Oviedo, Fla.; five grandchildren and a great-granddaughter.

Friends will be received from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday in the Leo M. Bacha Funeral Home, 516 Stanton St., Greensburg, where a funeral service will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday. Private interment will be in Highland Cemetery, California

Jeff Himler is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-836-6622, jhimler@tribweb.com or via Twitter @jhimler_news.

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