Park District staffer hangs up hat after 36 years of service

  • retirement after 36 years

Elmhurst, IL – After a 36-year run, Senior Site Supervisor Zen Przybylek has officially hung up his hat and started a new chapter of his life as grandpa.

Zen's journey with the park district began in 1987, where he assumed the role of Site Representative, later advancing to Senior Site Representative. From laying out the ground rules for umpires to setting up volleyball nets, Zen's expertise and versatility were to be admired.

Reflecting on his tenure, Zen emphasized the relationships he built with the community, earning him the affectionate nickname "Park." His genuine affinity for people became a cornerstone of his career, with everyone from colleagues to grocery store regulars recognizing and greeting him warmly.

Over the years, Zen witnessed the evolution of the District, praising the improvements made under the guidance of leaders like Rich Grodski and Jim Rogers. From field renovations to safety enhancements, Zen embraced the changes while cherishing the traditions that made the District special.

For Zen, the joy of serving extended beyond the paycheck. He recalls the early days when dedication trumped financial gain, instilling in him a sense of purpose and fulfillment.

“When I was initially working for the park district, they told me that if I wasn’t going to cash my paychecks, I might as well volunteer,” joked Zen, “I never did it for the money.”

Offering advice to prospective District employees, Zen stresses the importance of hard work, adaptability, and interpersonal skills. His experiences underscore the rewarding nature of the job and the impact one can make on the community.

Although Zen has bid farewell to his role, he looks forward to the next chapter with optimism and gratitude.

“It was such an enjoyable period of my life, and I do miss it, but I have a whole new chapter of life with my grandchild that I’m looking forward to!”

As Zen embarks on this new journey, the District extends its heartfelt gratitude for his years of service and wishes him the very best in all his future endeavors.