Cover photo for Patricia Zantjer's Obituary
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Patricia Zantjer

Patricia “Patty” Zantjer left the loving arms of those that loved her to take up her favorite games of teasing and playing pranks, but in Heaven. She was a bright star, with a radiant smile and an infectious laugh, that captivated people. Born in Detroit, MI, on November 22, 1943 to Dallas and Viola (Muehe) Payne, Patty grew up in Richland, MI, on the family farm and at their cottage at Gull Lake. She spent her time skiing at the lake and skating at the roller rink. Patty worked at The Pub, owned by her parents, where she met Bruce Zantjer.

Patty and Bruce were married on May 11, 1963 and were able to celebrate their 60th anniversary. Together they raised their children, Scott and Angela (Lin) in Otsego and at their cottage at Duck Lake. At the cottage, Patty baked in the sunshine, hosted 4th of July parties, sat around the fire and created mischief. Patty had a passion for animals. Her family joked that she would bring a stray horse home if she could.

Patty proudly worked as a bus driver for Otsego Public Schools for 44 years. She delighted in greeting her students in the morning with a smile. She rejoiced in taking bus trips to watch the students in marching band, choir and sports. One of her favorite hobbies was singing with the Sweet Adelines. Patty relished the friendship of the other women and the music that touched her heart. Most importantly, she wore bright costumes with lots of sparkle, which harmonized with her personality. Patty looked forward to family reunions and spending time playing cards and laughing late into the night. There was never a dull moment or a shortage of rowdy laughter. Gracious thanks to the friends and family that spent time with her at the nursing home and brought joy to her. Remember her friendship, devotion to her family and her generous heart.

A celebration, emphasis on celebration, of Patty’s life will be held at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to Centrica Care Givers, the Hospice that affectionately cared for her at the end of her life.

Offer Condolence for the family of Patricia Zantjer

Condolence Messages

~Bill and Janice Thompson

September 15, 2023 at 11:26 am

… Dearest Zantjer and Lin Families, Many caring thoughts are with you all, love, sympathy, understanding and prayer. May you be comforted in the light of love today and for the days ahead. Your treasured memories will keep you strong as her ‘sparkle for life’ will always be with you, may her incredible life be a reminder to us all that one person CAN make a difference. God Speed …


Ryan Ewing

September 15, 2023 at 12:40 pm

Mrs Zantjer was an incredibly awesome bus driver and had a wicked sense of humor…she loved to tease us on our marching band trips

She will be best known for her sense of humor and her sparkling outfits that she wore….Patty I’ll never forget you….rest in peace!!!!


Richhard and Karen Geib

September 15, 2023 at 4:13 pm

Pat was a true friend. We enjoyed each others company, whether on vacation, enjoying a lunch together or a movie. My husband and I enjoyed many Thanksgivings and Christmases together at her daughters’ house. She.was always a wonderful companion. Bruce I will pray for you! This is a great loss for you and your family! Her bright smile and sense of humor will be missed!


Jennifer Mitchell

September 15, 2023 at 5:07 pm

Many years ago when my kids were small, I remember Patty taking my youngest, Grant, for a bus ride before he was school aged, so he wouldn’t be afraid when he was old enough to ride the bus. That was above and beyond and I’ve never forgotten it.


Carolyn Jordan

September 15, 2023 at 5:17 pm

Patty is one of the most wonderful memories I have with Sweet Adelines. Quick witted, loving, caring & always ready for a laugh! A talented woman in voice & choreography, knew where she needed to be, when she needed to be there in voice & movement! It was such a pleasure to be in her presence. We, my momma, Doris, & I adored her. Truley, a beautiful woman inside & out. A strong, proud wife, mother & friend. I feel Blessed to have been called a friend. My prayers are with everyone she loved & all who loved her that our Loving God comfort all of us with His Grace, His Mercy & His Peace that she is with Him at His right hand in Heaven.


Carman Merriam

September 15, 2023 at 8:39 pm

You have my deepest condolences. She was my favorite bus driver. She was such a treat and so much fun. You felt as a child, that she really ‘saw’ you and cared for you. I am 56 y/o and I still remember her fondly. So sorry.


Ruby Rogers

September 15, 2023 at 10:16 pm

Dear Mrs. Z’s family, I knew her as Mrs. Z on the bus, she always was smiling and loved to joke, I remember one time she goes okay kids were all going to see Mrs.Chapman … dun dun dun everyone got quiet.. we actually just went to the bus garage for a fire/emergency drill lol.

Altho one time I remember she sent me to the bus garage and friends because we were talking at a railroad stop, she warned us tho then we had to go. We were silly kids of coarse. Deepest sympathies to the family of Mrs. Z she was a good lady.


Jeanne Myers

September 15, 2023 at 10:39 pm

Dear Zantjer family,

I am so said to read this news “Mrs. Z” was our son’s favorite bus driver. She seemed more like a relative. I remember when he was in kindergarten one afternoon the bus didnt stop. I was in a panic. I was calling the school to see if he missed the bus. Next there was a phone call and it was Pat, calling to say that when she went to sweep out the bus, she found my little guy sound asleep in the back seat. She brought him home in her own car and he felt very cared for. He loved her like family after that. That was her way, always looking out for others.


Steve DeSmit

September 17, 2023 at 9:59 pm

Bruce and family, I’m very sorry for your loss. Patty was always a blast to see and talk to, a great lady.


David Thompson

September 18, 2023 at 1:58 pm

Angela and the Zantjer family,

Please accept my sincere condolences for your loss. Pat will always hold special memories in my heart. I’ll never forget as a youngster calling to talk with Ang and Pat giving me a lesson in how to be polite on the phone. She’ll never be forgotten and she made such an impact on anyone she encountered with her generous heart.

Love and hugs,

David Thompson


diane lee beam

September 18, 2023 at 8:12 pm

i worked at the bus garage with mrs z for many years. when she was around you could always depend on a

big smile. she had so many attributes it is hard to list them . she lit up a room, always happy and very

dedicated to her career.

pat, you will always have a special place in my heart . i know you greeted st.peter with a big smile and a laugh .

rest in peace pat. we will all meet again someday.


Melissa Wason Chavez

September 18, 2023 at 10:48 pm

Angela and family,

I am so sorry to hear about your mom’s passing. She was always full of smiles and laughs. I know you will miss her deeply. My thoughts and prayers are with you during this time and beyond.


Jamie Dunklee

September 19, 2023 at 1:07 pm

Pat was one of my grandma Henrietta Selby’s best friends she also was my bus driver growing up and even came to my wedding she was an extraordinary woman

Who I never will forget and I know my grandma greeted her when she arrived


Bridgett Dee

September 21, 2023 at 6:57 pm

My prayers are with you all and know she will always be with you.

Pat. Oh how I will miss your laugh. I learned so much from you as a bus trainer, bus driver , friend and partner in crime. I will always remember all the laughs we had and trouble we got ourselves into. I will miss you kind heart and how you always helped people who needed help. I will listen for your laugh and know you will be up there watching over your family and I am sure you will still make us all smile. I love you my friend!


Annette D McFanin

September 21, 2023 at 7:46 pm

So sorry to hear of Pat’s passing. She was such a sweet woman. Prayers for the family during this time…


Belinda Babbitt

September 22, 2023 at 12:55 am

Many good memories that go way back to childhood with the Z family. Pat was sure one of a kind & always upbeat & happy. Loved her laugh, sense of humor, & most of all her heart. She will be deeply missed! My prayers go out to all the family & those she loved & those who loved her. RIP Bright, Sweet, Angel. I love you!!


Manette Darbe

September 22, 2023 at 10:26 am

Bruce, Scott, Angela and family. I knew your mom for 60 yrs. Met mom and she and Bruce were such good friends laughing, cards etc. I loved her so much.Im so lost so I know how family feels.praying for Zantjer family to always keep memories close to you. Sorry for your great loss. I’m sure she’s got her happiness and with her beloved pets. Always in my heart. RIP my friend.


Crystal Beach

September 22, 2023 at 7:48 pm

My condolences to the family and friends of Mrs. Zee. She was always so welcoming and greeting when you would enter the bus. She also paid attention and cared about us kids. She noticed I was sad one day and she made it a point to cheer me up. God speed Patty, I loved your sparkle.


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