Hans Zbinden, age 90, died peacefully surrounded by his family on June 27, 2021 at Rockynol where he lived with his wife of 68 years, Kathryn (Mallett) Zbinden. The longtime church organist chose just after 11am--Sunday morning organ playing time—to leave this life. Born in Philadelphia PA in 1930, he was the son of Hans and Elfriede (Schwartze) Zbinden. His father was a German Lutheran minister, his mother a pianist, organist, and pastor’s wife. He graduated from Wittenburg College in 1953, earned a master’s degree from University of Pennsylvania in 1955, served in the United States Army from 1955 to 1957, and later earned a PhD from Penn State University. Hans spent his life in the service of others through his teaching and his music. As a professor at the University of Akron he taught German Language and Culture to many generations of local students. After retiring in 1995 Hans joined AUAR, the Retirees Association, and was pleased to serve as its Recording Secretary. He and Kathy enjoyed many AUAR social activities, especially the annual Lobster & Suds Dinner! Music was another important part of Hans' life. He learned to play the organ in his youth and he has been playing organ ever since, even during his military service where he served as chaplain's assistant. He enriched the worship services at Faith Lutheran Church in Fairlawn, Ohio for over 30 years, leading the congregation in hymns and filling the sanctuary with beautiful music every week. Hans was an active member of the local chapter of the American Guild of Organists including a term serving as Dean.
Hans will be greatly missed by his wife, Kathryn (Mallett) Zbinden, daughters Elizabeth Zbinden and her husband James Bell of Reno NV, and Susan (Zbinden) Conner and her husband Bruce Conner of Tewksbury MA, brothers Arthur Zbinden of Fort Washington PA and Christian Zbinden of San Francisco CA, brother-in-law Gordon Mallett of Zionsville IN, as well as his nieces and nephews. He is preceded in death by his parents and his brother Marcus Zbinden. Auf Wiedersehen, Hans.
Funeral service will be at 2 PM on Thursday July 1, 2021 at Faith Lutheran Church 2726 W. Market St. Fairlawn, Ohio 44333 with Rev. Jean Hansen officiating. Family and friends may visit from 1-2 PM prior to the service at the church. Burial will be at Glendale Cemetery.
Donations in Hans’ honor may be made to American Guild of Organists Scholarship Fund.
Family gives thanks to the staff of Ohio Living Rockynol in Akron OH.
Services in care of The Billow Funeral Homes and Crematory, Fairlawn Chapel, 85 N. Miller Road Akron, OH 44333.
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