Ralph Edward Zunich

May 1, 1943 - May 19, 2023

05/01/1943 - 05/19/2023

Past Services

Funeral Service
Thursday July 13, 2023
11:00 am
Star of the Sea Catholic Church
1404 Pacific Ave.
Virginia Beach, Virginia 23451
757428-8547 | Directions

Captain R.E. “Ed” Zunich, USN ret, died at the age of 80 on May 19, 2023 after a hard-fought battle with cancer. Ed was born on May 1, 1943 in Telluride Colorado, and moved at an early age to American Fork, Utah. He attended the University of Utah with a Naval ROTC scholarship and graduated in 1965. He received a master’s degree from Central Michigan University in 1980. Ed was a surface warfare officer in the United States Navy, commanding three ships: USS Litchfield County, USS Gallant, and USS Francis Hammond. He served two tours in Vietnam and served at sea on the staff of the Seventh Fleet Command. Shore tours included the Bureau of Naval Personnel, the Navy Military Personnel Command, the U.S. Atlantic Command, and he was the commanding officer of Fleet Combat Training Center, Dam Neck. Ed served as the Federal Government representative on the Conference Board Quality Council and he was a member of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award evaluation team. Ed completed his Navy career in 1993. After leaving the Navy he accepted a position as Vice President Total Quality at Grimes Aerospace Company. Ed then embarked on a successful consulting career and developed a program for industrial productivity called Practical Process Improvement (PPI).

Ed was pensive, task-oriented, and methodical. He oftentimes came across as gruff and unamused, but he was always thinking, and nothing could stop him from thinking. He loved making lists; one of his very last lists he made was a list of tasks for his kids to complete after his passing. Here is a list of things people may not have known about Ed: 1) Ed was a painter, primarily using watercolors and acrylics. 2) The meatball scene in Lady and the Tramp always moved Ed to tears. 3) Ed played several sports: basketball, football, lacrosse, and track & field (specifically pole vault). 4) Ed has been to North Korea. 5) Ed’s favorite movies included either the Three Stooges, Mel Brooks, or Bill Murray. 6) Ed loved music and was a talented pianist in his youth. 7) Ed was a member of Phi Delta Theta fraternity at the University of Utah.

Ed is pre-deceased by his wife, Norma D. Zunich, of Winston-Salem, North Carolina. He is survived by his two kids, Kate Tippin (Mike) and Andy Zunich (Kelly); three grandkids, Mollie Tippin and Charlie and Ella Zunich; and two sisters, Deanne L. Fraser and Christine Z. Dickinson.

A mass will be held at Star of the Sea Catholic Church, 1404 Pacific Avenue, Virginia Beach on July 13, 2023 at 11:00am. A dual burial service with his wife Norma and full military honors will take place at Arlington National Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Virginia Beach Rescue Squad or Star of the Sea Church.

A heartfelt thanks to all the Shadowlawn families who welcomed Ed & Norma with open arms and always kept an eye out for them. To Carra, we are forever indebted to you; thank you for taking care of Ed in a way that no one else could.

Notify of
7 Condolences
Inline Feedbacks
View all condolences
J Fred Stack
2 months ago

Ed and Norma were the best of friends. We met after he retired from consulting. I think I got to know the softer side of Ed as we would camp or just hang out together. Sad that both he and Norma had a harder exit than desired, but they are back together again. And happy.

Mike Bell
2 months ago

I am so sad for your loss, but Ed’s legacy lives on through his PPI program. He made a really significant impact consulting for companies after he left the navy. He helped so many people. It is no exaggeration to say that he changed the course of my life, helping me see how organisations really worked and how to make improvements. He was a mentor, a coach, but most of all a friend. Whether it was listening to bluegrass music (Doc Watson was our favourite), going fishing or sharing a beer on the balcony of his Asheville home, we were always discussing PPI. His visit to Scotland with Norma to stay with my family gave me some fond memories, but there are so many. I will miss him, but am privileged to have known and worked with him. He was a truly great man

Crystal and Roland Brown III
3 months ago

It was a joy to service Mr Ed’s (and Mrs Norma) home. They were some of my favorite clients. I LoVed how organized and strategic he was. Although he was a man of few words, he would always find a way to make me laugh. Praying for his beautiful family

Tom Hankins
3 months ago

Ed, you will be missed, that is a given! God awaits you and I’m sure he has a very special place for you and your wife with him in heaven! Thank you for being the American that you are. May God bless all of Eds Kids and Grand Kids !

Ben Hernandez
3 months ago

So sorry to hear! Will be praying for him!!

Don Lerche
3 months ago

I served aboard the USS Litchfield County (LST-901) with Ed for about 15 months. I reported directly to Ed (he was our Executive Officer, and I was the ship’s Personnelman) and we worked together on a daily basis. I could not have had a better officer to work for and one who supported me when needed. It was my pleasure to renew our friendship at our ship’s reunions. I will always remember Ed with fondness and respect.

Cheryl J Skinner Tri-State Military Museum
3 months ago

May the love of God surround you and your family during this difficult time,

 May you come to know that the love of God is with you always,

May your memories of Capt. Ralph Edward Zunich, give you peace, comfort and strength…

Rest now in the arms of our Lord your mission on earth is complete.

I thank you for your service to our Country and my Freedom. You will not be forgotten.

My thoughts

and prayers to the family of ….

US Navy Veteran, Capt. Ralph Edward Zunich, is “A True American Hero” God Bless†

† Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13 †