The Richmond Register


December 6, 2013

James Andrew Zabawa, 56


RICHMOND — James Andrew Zabawa, 56, of Richmond, Ky., entered into eternity while staying at the Markey Cancer Center Hospital at UK Chandler Medical Center, Wednesday, December 4, 2013, when the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead raised his earthly body. He is now vitally alive with divine health in eternal glory.

He was born November 23, 1957, in Stuttgart, Germany, to Ingeborg Maegerle Zabawa and the late Edward Andrew Zabawa. He grew up in Augusta, Georgia, and graduated from Augusta State University in 1980. He moved to South Williamson, Ky., in 1981 where he was a member of Regional Church of God in Delbarton, WV, and managed Western Sizzlin’ Steakhouse. He moved his family to Nicholasville, KY, in 2001 and Richmond, Ky., in 2008. James was the Director of the Purchasing Department at Eastern Kentucky University.

Survivors other than his mother, Ingeborg, of Augusta, Georgia, include his loving wife of 33 years Debra “Debbie” Simpson Zabawa of Richmond; one daughter, Krista Zabawa Rhodus (and Zach) of Richmond; one son, Jared Andrew Zabawa (and Morgan Taylor) of Richmond; two sisters, Susan Echols (and Steve) of Mitchell, Georgia and Karen Whitney (and Chris) of Evans, Georgia; and one precious granddaughter, Mylah Hope Rhodus.

He also leaves several nieces and nephews; “adopted” daughter Stephanie Sowders; his extended family at Vineyard Community Church and Eastern Kentucky University; and his faithful canine companion, Jaxon. James was known by all who met him for his faith, love of life, work ethic, and kindness. Despite physical adversity and a recent diagnosis with cancer, he lived each day to the fullest and was always more concerned with the welfare of others than his own. Although his resume was long, he was humble. James loved Jesus first and foremost and adored his wife and family. When suddenly diagnosed with cancer in April of this year and given three months to live, James and those around him prayed and saw a miracle that allowed him to see the birth of his first grandchild in July. He spent time with his family every day, holding his new granddaughter for hours at a time, even as his health declined.

James was an active member of Vineyard Community Church, which he helped plant in Richmond, where he served on the Executive Board as treasurer, and along with his wife, was a small group leader. He loved to volunteer and was active at most outreach events.

He also had a great love for Eastern Kentucky University. Over the years, he served as an EKU Honor’s Program Thesis mentor, Advisor to Alpha Kappa Psi business fraternity, and FBLA events judge. He also served on the Facilities, Responsible Environmental Stewardship, Strategic Planning, and University Benefits Committees. He served as Vice Chair of EKU Staff Council; was a member of the Kentucky Public Procurement Association; and former President of the National Association of Educational Procurement-Kentucky Chapter.

Funeral service for the Celebration of James's Life will be at 1 p.m., Saturday, December 7, 2013, at the Vineyard Community Church in Richmond, Kentucky. Pastor Joe Wood will officiate the service. Visitation with the family will follow the funeral service. Oldham, Roberts & Powell Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to Vineyard Community Church: Condolences may be expressed at


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