On December 4, 2018, the world lost a true gentleman. He was a man of many talents and accomplishments. His passion for business was only surpassed by his love and devotion to his family and friends. Joe is survived by his wife, Carol; Peggy, the mother of his children; Chris, Ann (Alisa), John, Mary and Michael Zukin; as well as his step-children Anneliese, Abel, Miles and Zachary Eisentraut; and his grandchildren Nick Zukin, Stacy Baker, Peggi Casady, Katie Zukin-Kovach, Joseph Alisa, Tali Hafoka, Mary Alisa, David Alisa, Michael Alisa, Jessica Zukin, Mary Zukin, Zach Hespen, Meg Zukin, Jack Zukin, Sam Zukin; and step-grandchildren Eva and Nicky Eisentraut. He had 22 great-grandchildren. He is also survived by his brother Robert Zukin of Santa Barbara, California.
Joe was an entrepreneur. He was passionate about founding and nurturing successful businesses. This entrepreneurial spirit began at a young age with the egg route and vegetable stand in Brentwood, California where he was born and raised. His father, Joseph, was born in Russia and immigrated to America in 1902. He became a well-known clothing manufacturer (Joseph Zukin of California) on the West Coast and along with Joe’s mother Helen, they instilled in Joe the love of business.
Joe attended University High School in Los Angeles and went on to Stanford University. He was 17 years old when he enrolled knowing that he would be drafted into the military as soon as he turned 18. His education was interrupted by his induction into the Army 9th Infantry Division. After going through Army OCS he became a Second Lieutenant. He was stationed in Traunstein, Germany and served in the occupation and resettlement of displaced persons from 1945-46.
Upon his return in 1946, he resumed his studies in Business and Economics at Stanford and graduated in 1949. He was President of his fraternity Phi Gamma Delta. In 1949 he married his classmate Margaret Ann (Peggy) Sherman.
Before graduating, he envisioned a new concept of self-service gas stations. He started the Sharin Oil Company with Peggy in San Jose, building one station and eventually expanding to eight. Following his success with the Sharin Oil Company, he opened two – also new at the time – automated car washes with his childhood friend and Stanford classmate, Glen Holtby.
In 1955 he and his future partners (including his lifelong friend and attorney, Michael Khourie) took a fateful trip to Los Angeles to investigate the parking garage business. This trip happened to coincide with the opening of Disneyland which they visited. Instead of parking garages, the idea of an amusement park was seeded.
From that trip, Joe conceived and built Frontier Village Amusement Park in San Jose. This went on to become a popular attraction, which is still loved and remembered by former employees and visitors. Frontier Village enthusiasts hold an annual picnic in San Jose to reminisce about those days.
In 1968, Joe entered another business venture by purchasing a small outdoor advertising company in Merced, California called Cleveland Outdoor. He grew this small operation into a large billboard company, which he sold to 3M National Outdoor in 1980.
Continuing in this industry, he purchased an additional outdoor advertising business, Honald Outdoor, and grew it into what is now Meadow Outdoor Advertising with billboards in Oregon, Washington, Idaho and California. His sons, Chris, John and Michael have taken the reins and continue to foster and grow the company, guided by the steady work ethic modeled by Joe.
Nearly at the same time as he started Meadow Outdoor, he entered the Radio Broadcasting industry with the purchase of KGFM and KGEO in the Central Valley. He remained in the Radio business until his passing through his affiliation as a Board member and part owner of Empire Broadcasting, which is the former owner of KARA and partner of KRTY and owner of KLIV founded and led by Joe’s longtime friend Bob Kieve.
In 1990, he and his sons also purchased Stott Outdoor Advertising with the Zukin family’s latest partner, Jim Moravec. This company continues to thrive today.
In 2013, he was honored by the Outdoor Advertising Association of America and the longtime President Nancy Fletcher when he was inducted into the OAAA Hall of Fame.
In 1990, Joe and Carol married and moved to Sebastopol, Calif., where he resided until his death. Along with a continued involvement in his company, he became an avid domino player at the Wild Oak Saddle Club and enjoyed weekly games.
Like his father, Joe’s love of business was surpassed only by his love and devotion to family and friends. He will be missed by many, especially his wife, his former wife and his children, 15 grandchildren and 22 great grandchildren.
Joe's life was long and fruitful. He missed his 93rd birthday by only a month. The true worth of a man is how he is remembered. Joe’s memory will live on in the hearts of his family, friends and countless others whose lives he touched.
Joe will be interred with his parents at Forest Lawn in Glendale, California in a private ceremony. A celebration of his life will be held at a later date in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Information from The Chronicle and our advertisers (Want to add your business to this to this feed?)