Godfrey Zaunbrecher, a beloved grandfather, father, husband, athlete, and pillar of his community, passed away peacefully on September 19, 2023, in Los Banos, CA. He leaves behind a legacy of dedication, faith, and unwavering love.
Growing up in Crowley, Louisiana, Godfrey’s journey began on February 21, 1948, and he quickly became known in school for his momentous athleticism. His football adventures began at Louisiana State University, where he showcased his remarkable skills and set the stage for an unbelievable career. In 1969, he achieved the pinnacle of his football dreams when he was drafted to the Minnesota Vikings, proudly representing his team and fans with honor and determination. His incredible journey pinnacled with an unforgettable appearance in Super Bowl VIII, forever etching his name in the records of football history.
After his NFL career, Godfrey relocated to Elkhorn, Nebraska, where he embarked on a new chapter of his life. There, he became a beloved member of the community, known not only for his football achievements but for his entrepreneurial spirit. Godfrey was truly a Jack of all trades, mastering various crafts from carpentry, cobblering to gardening, fishing & hunting, horticulture, and to always tinkering in his garage. His diverse skills and hobbies reflected a lifelong curiosity and passion for learning. From his early days as an active member of 4-H during primary school, he exemplified a commitment to nurturing not only his interests but also the growth and development of those around him.
Godfrey’s faith was a cornerstone of his life, and he was a founding member of the Elkhorn Hills United Methodist Church. His commitment to his church community mirrored the commitment he displayed throughout his life, as he strived to be a source of inspiration, guidance, and support to those around him.
Godfrey is preceded in death by his parents, Paul and Cecilia Zaunbrecher. He is survived by his loving family, including his wife Kathy Zaunbrecher, his brothers Tim Zaunbrecher and Gerard Zaunbrecher, his daughters Emily Lynch [son-in-law Todd Lynch], Angie Cemer, Sue Cozzi [son-in-law Joey Cozzi], and son Troy Reistroffer[daughter-in-law Patti Reistroffer]. He is also survived by his cherished grandchildren: Kaden Urzendowski, Gavin Urzendowski, Zander Lynch, Sadie Lynch, Corey Porta, Blake Reistroffer, Karlee Reistroffer, Jarod Cozzi, and Justin Cozzi and great-grandson Emmitt Porta.
A celebration of Godfrey’s life will be held at Fierro Family Funeral Home in Dos Palos, CA on September 29, 2023 at 10am with a luncheon to follow at Dos Palos Y Service Club. A second service will be held at Elkhorn Hills United Methodist Church in Elkhorn, NE at a later date. In lieu of flowers, the family kindly requests donations to the Wounded Warrior Project in his memory. Godfrey Zaunbrecher’s unbending spirit, unwavering faith, and enduring legacy will forever be a source of inspiration and comfort to all who were privileged to know him. He may be gone, but his memory will live on eternally in the hearts of those who loved him.