Austin Jacob (AJ) Zaruba, 30 formerly of Tipton, chose to enter eternal rest with the Lord on February 23, 2018. Austin was born March 27, 1987, only son to Bruce and Lora Zaruba. In his toddler years you would find him on the tractor with either his dad or grandpa, or running around fighting imaginary bad guys with his batman cape on. You could also find him with a cup of coffee just like grandpa. As a teenager, he loved to play airsoft, and would host many airsoft battles on the farm in the summer. High school is where he found his singing voice, he won many awards and decided to dedicate his life to music and the arts. He graduated from Tipton High School in 2005 and went on to further his love for music at Wartburg College.
His passion for vocal music lead him to be selected by his peers to be in many leadership roles. His success in these positions allowed him to be chosen to direct both the Ritterchor (Men's Ensemble) and the Wartburg Choir on their world tour in 2009. He graduated with his Bachelor's Degree in Music Education from Wartburg in 2009, which is where he met and married Elizabeth Reedstrom. In that union of marriage, a beautiful son, Jacob Alan was born, who was the apple of his dad's eye.
Austin then began teaching in western Iowa in a small district called Riverside located in Oakland, IA. In his three years at Riverside, AJ, lovingly referred to as "Mr. Z.", managed to quadruple the size of the High School Vocal Music Program. Under his direction, ensembles received numerous Division I (Superior) ratings, including the first ever Division I rating at State Jazz Festival. In the Spring of 2013, Riverside's Jazz Choir, Here Comes Treble was invited to compete at the Iowa Vocal Jazz Championships where they placed 4th in the state. He was also able to spread his love of music to many students in several other schools throughout his career.
He was active in the communities he lived and enjoyed arranging music, spending time with his family, and watching his son grow. With his son, he loved to play Mario, dinosaurs, or be outside swinging. Austin was a very talented, funny, loving, smart young man that taught himself how to play the piano and guitar. He was a self-proclaimed "geek" who loved to use technology as often as he could. He so wanted to be happy on the inside but his mind wouldn't let him. In his final act of kindness, Austin was an organ donor.
Austin was preceded in death by his grandfather, Leonard Noska.
Left to cherish his memory is his son, Jacob Alan Zaruba and Jacob's mother, Elizabeth (Reedstrom) Zaruba of Minnesota; his parents, Bruce and Lora Zaruba; his grandparents, Beverly Noska, John and Joyce Zaruba; his sisters Amber (Matthew) Swim and Ariel Zaruba (William Stokes); aunts and uncles; many cousins, dear friends and classmates.
A visitation will be held Wednesday night from 4 - 7 at Fry Funeral Home, Tipton followed by a Celebration of Life gathering to be held Thursday morning at 10:30, First United Church of Christ in Tipton. Additional details can be found at www.fryfuneralhome.com. Should friends so desire, a memorial fund has been established. The family requests no flowers, online condolences may be shared on the website as well.
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