Colonel Martin James Zickert, USAF, Retired, of Vero Beach, Florida, passed away July 2, 2023, after succumbing to injuries related to a fall. He was on his way home to Vero Beach from Bowling Green, Kentucky, when he fell. He was 82 years old.
“Marty,” as he was known by all who loved him, was born in Greenwood, Wisconsin on February 13, 1941 and was the only child of Martin and Rosella “Dolly” Zickert. During college, he was signed with the Milwaukee Braves minor league team as a catcher. In 1962, he decided to join the Air Force. He flew KC-135’s and eventually moved to the F-4E fighter jet during the Vietnam War.
He and his family were stationed at Clark AFB, Shaw AFB, MacDill AFB and Spangdahlem AB in Germany, where he eventually became the Base Commander. Following assignments at Eglin AFB, Kirtland AFB and Edwards AFB, Marty retired in 1992 and moved to Florida. He eventually settled in Vero Beach in 2001, where he began the next phase of his life.
Marty had a passion for veterans and lived a life of “getting things done.” With his leadership skills, contagious smile and charismatic personality, he was a natural advocate for all things veteran related. Marty was a leader and President of the Veterans Council of Indian River County, an organization that soared to new heights under his leadership. He was also instrumental in local chapters of United Way, MOAA, Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 1038, and founding member of Next Generation Veterans of Indian River County, The Victory Center, and was the Air Show Blue Angels liaison to name a few. He never shrunk from a challenge or need, wherever that happened to be. He loved the Indian River County community and lived that every day.
Marty’s education was a BS in Chemistry from Delta State University and an MS from Golden Gate University, Air War College, and Air Command and Staff College. He was the medal recipient of the Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster, AF Outstanding Unit Award with Valor Device and five Oak Leaf Clusters, Vietnam Service Medal with three Devices, and many others.
He is preceded in death by his beloved wife Frances “Penny” Zickert, his daughter Alicea Zickert and his granddaughter Shannon Zickert.
Marty leaves behind his children and their families Michael (Renee) Zickert, Felicia (Brian) Bass, and Sean Zickert. He also leaves behind grandchildren Christina, Shelby, Sydney, Erin, Amanda, Seth, Devan, and MacKenzie and four great-grandchildren Anastasia, Isabel, Xander, and Rowan.
We are all the better for having known him and having been a part of his life. He cannot be replaced and we can only hope to emulate his attributes. Let’s continue to carry his legacy forward into our various communities.
His memorial service will be held in Vero Beach on Memorial Island on July 29, 2023, at 0900. This will be followed up with a celebration of life at Walking Tree Brewery July 29, 2023 from 1600-1830.
In Lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to: Veterans Council of Indian River County: Veterans Helping Veterans. This focus was near and dear to his heart, with the goal of helping any Veteran in need.