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In Memory

Byron Zotaley

Byron L. Zotaley

March 18, 1944 - January 15, 2024

  • Byron L. Zotaley


It is with much sadness that we announce the passing of Byron Zotaley. Among his innumerable awards and accolades, Byron was most proud to be the husband of Theresa (Cassady), father of Nicole Apple, Jason Zotaley and Krissy Sommerstad, father-in-law to Ryan Apple and Paul Sommerstad, and Papou to six grandsons: Sam, Jake and David Apple and Theo, Victor and Wally Sommerstad. Byron passed peacefully in the early morning of January 15, 2024, surrounded by his loving wife, children and niece, Dr. Deepi Kakani Cassady. For the past several years, Byron lived courageously with frontotemporal dementia (FTD). While the disease stole his love of practicing law, public speaking and driving classic cars, he retained his good humor. His love of family, faith, community and all things Greek were with him through his final days. He was 79.

Byron was born on March 18, 1944, the only child of Leo Zotaley of Athens, Greece, and Tula (Koupis) Zotaley of Minneapolis. Raised in St. Louis Park, Byron graduated from St. Louis Park High School, the University of Minnesota, William Mitchell College of Law and obtained a Master's degree from the University of St. Thomas. A practicing attorney for more than four decades, Byron lived most of his life in Edina with beloved wife Theresa and their children. He was a lifelong member of St. Mary's Greek Orthodox Church where he was baptized, married the love of his life and witnessed the baptisms of his children and grandchildren. He proudly carried on his family's six-generation legacy in the church, where he served as parish council president for several years. He was also deeply involved in the Orthodox Christian Laity (OCL) and the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA).

Byron loved traveling and especially spending time with his wife and extended family in the Miami sunshine, where he and Theresa regularly escaped the frigid Minnesota winters.

Byron was preceded in death by his parents. He is survived by his wife, children, grandchildren and many beloved cousins, nieces, nephews and friends.

We are grateful for the compassionate and excellent care he received as his disease progressed. His amazing care team included Dr.Elias Bazakos of Minneapolis Clinic of Neurology; The Waters of Edina, which became a second home to us all; the Park Nicollet Hospice care team who guided and cared for our entire family in recent months; and the team at Methodist hospital who helped Byron defy the medical odds more than once.

In 1961, Byron - then 17 years old - told The Minneapolis Star newspaper, "I always seem to see the bright side of things, and I hope I can always do that." His enduring optimism and resilience carried through to his final moments. May his memory be eternal.

Visitation 4-6pm Sunday, January 21 with 6pm Trisagion Service at Washburn-McReavy Edina Chapel, 5000 West 50th St. Edina. Funeral Service 11:30am Monday, January 22 at St. Mary's Greek Orthodox Church, 3450 Irving Ave. South, Minneapolis. Interment Lakewood Cemetery. A luncheon will follow the burial. In lieu of flowers, the family would like to honor Byron by continuing his legacy of service to St. Mary's Greek Orthodox Church by encouraging donations directly to the church via ZotaleyMemorialFund.com or to The Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration at TheAFTD.org.


Edina Chapel 952-920-3996


Published on January 18, 2024


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01/19/24 09:29 AM #1    

George Hansen

RIP, Byron...You were always a good friend.  And a good lawyer, too.  You took care of all the legal needs for my parents and brother in St. Louis Park.

Regards, George Hansen

01/20/24 05:49 PM #2    

Colleen Crotty (Dickinson)

Byron was in many of my classes and was always so kind and sweet. He was a true gentleman.

He was also very brillant, but very humble too.  He was not a show off or bragger either.

May the Lord find a great place for him in Heaven.  He was truly one of a kind.

Colleen (Crotty) Dickinson

01/22/24 09:15 AM #3    

Sue Currens (Heaston)

My memory of Byron is from when we were in the fifth grade at Brookside. He gave me a card and box of candy on Valentines Day. Believe it or not, I still have the card.   Sue Currens

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