On March 18, 2022 Leo Zanotto passed away. As always, he was surrounded by loved ones. In his nearly 60 years of life, he made every day special. He was loved by everyone who met him, but especially his family.
Leo was born in Santa Cruz, California. He was the baby of the family, lucky number 13 of Rosa and Andrea’s children. Leo was born with Down syndrome, but it often felt like Down syndrome was his gift to the world. He was an expert in spreading joy, making those around him laugh, and being remembered. He reminded everyone of what matters most in life, which to Leo was family and friendship.
Leo grew up in the Almaden Valley. He worked at the family grocery store Zanotto’s Family Markets. While working there, he excelled most in making customers smile.
Leo lived at his family home until his mother turned 80. Then Leo was welcomed into his sister Bianca’s home in Arizona. He spent five years there focusing on his health and picking up several new hobbies including bike riding and skiing. Five years later he returned to San Jose and lived in loving residential homes while working for Hope Services. Leo was a part of the Special Olympics. He participated in bowling, swimming, and basketball.
Leo was unstoppable on the dance floor. He rolled up his sleeves, loosened his tie and danced at least twice with every lady in attendance. Leo also loved professional wrestling, occasionally dressing the part to watch a match. For his 50th birthday the family rented out a bowling alley for a huge celebration. Each win was followed by an, “I beat you!” and a smile. There were bachelor parties with brothers and nephews, Disneyland with sisters, and countless proposals to the friends of nearly all his nieces. If you were surprised to hear he proposed to your girlfriend, he always offered the consolation prize of best man. Every lady always received a kiss on the hand - he was a true gentleman.
Leo’s pockets were filled with pens, paper and a radio. The pen and paper were for taking down the number of every friend he encountered. Which over the years meant thousands of notebooks, a few pockets stained with ink, and a phone number collection as big as the local yellow pages. Also he would always call every number so everyone was always prepared. The radio was for listening to his favorite sports teams. His favorite teams were the San Francisco Giants and much to his siblings displeasure the Dallas Cowboys. If you were to ask Leo why the Cowboys…the cheerleaders.
His reach was remarkably vast. He couldn’t leave the house without running into someone who knew and loved him. “Hey friend,” Leo would often say and those simple, beautiful words will be missed.
The last few years of Leo’s life, he dealt with serious health issues and dementia. Leo never faced these issues alone. His dedicated sister, retired nurse Margie Zanotto Hemeon gracefully handled Leo’s care. Leo always had a sibling by his side.
There will never be a family wedding or event that will be the same without Leo. Who will catch the garter? His joy and love lives strong in all of our memories forever and always.
Remember to dance like no one is watching and live joyfully every day as Leo did.
Leo is survived by siblings Tony Zanotto, Conrad Zanotto, Frank Zanotto, Justine Zanotto Paullus, Bianca Zanotto Malmin, Inez Zanotto, Maria Zanotto Jorgensen, Fred Zanotto, Daniel Zanotto and Margie Zanotto Hemeon. He also leaves behind over 30 nieces and nephews. As well as nearly 60 great nieces and nephews.
Leo is preceded in death by his parents Andrea and Rosa as well as sisters Silvana Zanotto Duprel and Liz Zanotto Caffrey. Also passing before him were sister-in-law Penny Zanotto, brother- in-laws Carroll Duprel and Michael Caffrey. As well as nephews Andrew Zanotto, Trevor Caffrey, Lenny Duprel and Tim Duprel, Great niece Baby Rachel Duprel and Great, great nephew Baby Kyle Duprel.
To send flowers to Leopoldo "Leo" Adrian Zanotto's family, please visit our floral store.