By Chris Mayhew
Enquirer staff writer
PETERSBURG - Norman Monroe Zeidler carved his first pumpkin of the season Monday, the day he died from a heart attack. He was 47.
Mr. Zeidler was continuing a 14-year-tradition of carving at least 10 pumpkins for the Boone County's annual Jack-o'-lantern Contest and Walk.
His tradition began when he discovered that his wife, Adelia "Ada" Clooney Zeidler, was pregnant with the couple's first child, Allison.
"This was the first one he had done this year, a skull one with many teeth," his wife said. "I told him it looked like a very happy skull."
Mr. Zeigler considered himself foremost an artist, and worked other odd jobs to bring money into the house, his wife said.
He was most well known for his distinctive jack-o'-lanterns that were among hundreds that lined walkways in Central Park in Union each year.
"I'm going to try to get some preservatives and make sure it gets entered," his wife said.
Normally a painter of landscapes and castles, Mr. Zeidler carved all his pumpkins freehand, with no tracing.
"I get quite a reputation," Mr. Zeidler said in an October 2003 Enquirer article.
Liking the smooth surfaces of the black slate he found on the banks of the Ohio River near his home, he painted intricate paintings on them, his wife said.
A lover of nature, Mr. Ziegler also drew upon American Indian ancestry from his mother's side to make artworks out of beads, his wife said.
Mr. Ziegler enlisted in the Army in the early 1980s, and after spending two years as a soldier he enrolled at Northern Kentucky University. He then returned to spend eight years as an officer with the Indiana National Guard, retiring with the rank of captain.
At the time of his death, Mr. Ziegler was attending Southern Ohio Business College in the evenings, his wife said. He grew up in Latonia and Fort Mitchell, and was a graduate of Beechwood High School.
"More than anything I will remember him as a loving father to our children," his wife said. "He was a wonderful father. He really enjoyed being a father, being a daddy."
Mr. Zeidler was the son-in-law of TV personality Nick Clooney, who is running for Congress.
Other survivors include his daughter, Allison Zeidler of Petersburg; son, Nicholas Zeidler of Petersburg; parents, Elsie Moore and William Robert Zeidler of Petersburg; one sister, Debbie Bode of Fort Mitchell, and two nephews.
Visitation will be noon-2 p.m. with service following at 2 p.m. Thursday at Middendorf-Bullock Funeral home in Hebron. Burial will be in Petersburg Cemetery.
Memorials: Immanuel United Methodist Church, Student Loan Fund, 2551 Dixie Highway. Lakeside Park, KY 41017.
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