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Hy Zornes

 

Last updated 11/26/2018 at 2:21pm

His mountains were calling and so he went. Hy Howard Zornes passed away on October 17, 2018, following a short but courageous battle with cancer. He died peacefully in his sleep surrounded by his loving family. He faced his final climb with dignity and never lost his passion for living.

Hy was born October 13, 1956 in Sacramento, California to his loving parents, Howard and Esther Zornes. He spent most of his youth in Manteca, California. When he wasn't inventing new ways of getting into trouble, he worked with his father remodeling their home and learned his love of cooking from his mother.

Summers were spent with his aunt and uncle in Nebraska, where he loved to help on the family farm and learn all about the farm machinery. As a boy scout, he first kindled his passion for the outdoors and earned the rank of Eagle Scout.

From a young age, Hy took any chance he could get to travel to Yosemite National Park or the Sierra Nevada mountains, where he climbed, backpacked, and kayaked extensively. He climbed many of Yosemite Valley's big walls, including the Northwest face of Half Dome and multiple ascents of El Capitan.

After graduating from Manteca High School, Hy attended the University of California at Davis, earning a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering and material science. While attending Davis, he met his future wife and the love of his life, Sharon. During college he continued his outdoor adventures, and also took up cross country and downhill skiing.

After graduating from Davis in 1979, Hy began his professional career with US Steel as a metallurgist. In 1980, he married his college sweetheart and moved to Southern California, finally settling in Fallbrook, where they raised their two children, Whitney and Cody.

Hy took a career hiatus to run a small sewing business, another skill passed on from his mother, before returning to design engineering in the optical and defense industries.

In Fallbrook, Hy was an active community member. He served as Scoutmaster for BSA Troop 755, earned the position of Worshipful Master of the Fallbrook Masonic Lodge 317, and was a member of the Fallbrook Amateur Radio Club.

Throughout his children's growing years, Hy introduced them to all his favorite mountain sports and activities. There were frequent family ski trips to the Sierras and Sun Valley, Idaho, along with camping trips to Joshua Tree and Yosemite Valley.

In 2013, Hy finally bought his dream home in Crowley Lake, south of Mammoth Lakes in the eastern Sierras. He spent his last years skiing every winter and exploring all the beautiful lakes and hiking trails every summer.

Hy will forever be remembered for his passion for life, abundant energy, crazy sense of humor, and love for the mountains. He had the ability to spark an instant connection with anyone he met, making fast friends out of classmates, colleagues, acquaintances, or total strangers, ensuring he will be missed dearly by many.

While we are all grieving, we know that our lives were enriched by knowing him. Through all of the good times and cherished memories we made together, Hy will live on in our hearts forever. A private ceremony and celebration of life will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, the family encourages a donation to the Cancer Research Institute or Vitas Hospice Care.

 

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