Batavia Downs: Donald H. Zich, 76, dies

Written by on January 23, 2019

Press Release:

By Tim Bojarski for Batavia Downs

Donald H. Zich, 76, of Akron, New York died on January 22, 2019, at the Gates Vascular Center in Buffalo, New York.

Born on September 19, 1942, Mr. Zich was introduced to harness racing at a very early age as his uncle Herb Schweitzer raced a stable of horses at Vernon Downs. After working with his uncle and learning the business during the summer while still in school, he entered the military after graduation and served his country during the Vietnam conflict. Upon his honorable discharge, Mr. Zich went right back to the track and started his lifelong participation in the sport he loved.

During his active years of training and driving at Batavia Downs and Buffalo Raceway, Mr. Zich oversaw his own stable while also catch driving for many years. Horses he steered and conditioned included Tarzan Direct, Gypsy Zipper, Southcote Irish, Gemarillo, Win Jon, Laredo LST, Columbia Stone, Surginski, Hatchet Almahurst, Dovers Dolittle, Quality Wins, Fan Can Do, Flower Time, Two Smart, Cosmic Jolt and his pride and joy Fanny’s Filly, who he guided into being the Trotter of the Year in western New York in 1982.

Mr. Zich was also a 30-year employee of General Motors at the Buffalo Engine Plant where he earned an associate’s degree as a skilled tradesman and worked as a tinsmith.

In his spare time Mr. Zich was an avid hunter and fisherman and loved to spend time with his family. He was a friend to everyone at the track and he will certainly be missed by all those who knew him.

Don Zich was the beloved husband of Elizabeth P. (nee Ralston) Zich for 53-years; devoted father of Tina M. (Timothy L.) Bojarski, Deborah A. (Darrin M.) Monti and Donald Zich; cherished grandfather of Dana, Lauren, Andrew, Donnie and Taylor; loving son of the late Fred and Mildred Zich; dear step-brother of Beverly; and is also survived by several nieces, nephews and cousins.

Relatives and friends may visit the Lombardo Funeral Home (Northtowns Chapel), 855 Niagara Falls Boulevard, near Eggert Road and Sheridan Drive on Thursday (Jan. 24) from 4-8 p.m. A mass of Christian burial will be celebrated at Holy Spirit Church, 85 Dakota Avenue, Buffalo, New York on Friday morning (Jan. 25) at 11:15 a.m. Online condolences are at


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