Zaharoula "Zara" "Sugar" DeJarld

Zaharoula “Zara” “Sugar” DeJarld
(nee Rousonelos)

Beloved wife, mother, aunt, sister, grandmother and friend, Zaharoula DeJarld passed away peacefully at the age of 91, on Monday, January 16, 2023, surrounded by her loving family.  She was born on February 4, 1931, in Joliet, Illinois, the daughter of proud Greek immigrants, the late Gus and Catherine (nee Gryparis) Rousonelos. Born and raised in Joliet, Zara was a graduate of Joliet Township High School, Class of 1948, Joliet Junior College, Class of 1950, and attended the University of Illinois. It was at JJC where she met her soul mate, Richard Lee DeJarld.  Richard and Zara fell in love, married, and together raised their three daughters. They were longtime members of the All Saints Greek Orthodox Church in Joliet, where she was active with Daughters of Penelope and the Sunday school program. 

Zara was generous with her time, balancing motherhood and volunteer work. She was proud to be a well-loved Troop Leader for both Brownies and Girl Scout Troop 241. Zara was a founding member of the Joliet Area Corvette Club, a member of the Women's Auxiliary for the Will County Dental Society, PTA for Pershing Elementary School and Dirksen Junior High, the Visitation and Aid Society, and the Joliet Country Club, where she participated in women’s golf and bowling leagues. Zara was a longtime, devoted volunteer with the library at St. Paul the Apostle School, a position that gave her great fulfillment, joy, and cherished, lifelong friends.

To know Zara was to love her. A hardworking farm girl, she was raised with her six brothers and sisters, who taught her to be tough and feisty. Zara married the love of her life in 1951. Upon his completion of dental school, they moved to Great Falls, Montana, while he served in the United States Air Force. It was during this time that Zara developed a lifelong love of the American West, the outdoors, and travel. Zara and Richard raised their family in Joliet, in a house between her parents, sisters and their children. This group became fondly known as The Neighborhood Gang, and lived as one large, happy family. Zara was an avid gardener, a wonderful cook, and a generous hostess. After the unexpected death of her husband, Zara devoted her life to helping raise her grandchildren, who all had a special bond with their precious Yia Yia. A comforting presence to all who knew her, Zara will be remembered for being truly kind, her ability to see the positive side of any situation, and willingness to help in any way she could. May her beautiful memory be eternal.

Zara is survived by her three daughters, Tina Maria (Eric Shropshire) DeJarld, Lisa Maria DeJarld, and Dina Maria DeJarld; six grandchildren, Amanda Whitney Shropshire, William (Dr. Beth Makowski) Shell, Richard Lee Shell, Maria Zaharoula (Thomas) Labanowski, Nicholas William DeJarld (Rebecca Burr) Whitmore, and Helena Zara DeJarld (Justin Johns) Whitmore; four great-grandchildren, Christian Shropshire Newson, John Richard Shell, Everett Thomas Labanowski, and Zara Jane Labanowski; and her brother-in-law, Kenneth Jerome (the late Beverly Muchitch) DeJarld.  Zara is also survived by numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins.

She is preceded by her loving husband of 36 years, Dr. Richard Lee DeJarld (1987); her parents; her in-laws, Kathryn DeJarld and Norman LaVerne (Dorothy) DeJarld; her siblings, Peter (Anna) Rousonelos, Anne Scaropoulos, Marina (Panagis) Apostolou, Andrew (Mary) Rousonelos, Marco (Martha) Rousonelos, and Dr. Stanley (Nola) Rousonelos; nieces, Katina (Howard) Kendall and Irene Zimmerman; and her nephew, James P. Rousonelos.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made in her name to All Saints Greek Orthodox Church Endowment Fund, or to St. Paul the Apostle School at 18 Woodlawn Avenue, Joliet, Illinois, 60435. School donations should be indicated as “restricted for library use only.” 

Zara’s family would like to thank her caregiver, Enksaikhan (Inga) Balchindorj, and Lightways Hospice for their wonderful care and assistance.

Funeral Services for Zaharoula DeJarld will be held on Saturday, January 21, 2023, at 9:30 a.m., from the Fred C. Dames Funeral Home, 3200 Black Rd. (at Essington Rd.), Joliet, IL, to All Saints Greek Orthodox Church, 102 N. Broadway St., Joliet, with a service to be held at 10:30 a.m.  Interment will follow at Woodlawn Memorial Park.  Visitation will be held on Friday at the funeral home from 3:00 to 8:00 p.m. with a Trisagion Service at 6:00 p.m.

For more information please call 815-741-5500 or visit her Memorial Tribute at www.fredcdames.com where you can share a favorite memory or leave an online condolence.