Cover photo for Joseph "Joe" Assad Michael Zetter's Obituary
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1930 Joseph 2021

Joseph "Joe" Assad Michael Zetter

March 11, 1930 — March 21, 2021



Joseph “Joe” Assad Michael Zetter

Joseph “Joe” Assad Michael Zetter, age 91, of Mechanicsburg, and formerly of Stockton, CA, passed away peacefully at home on Sunday, March 21, 2021, with his loving family by his side, including his wife, Martha.  Joe was born on Tuesday, March 11, 1930, in Stockton, CA to the late Assad Mike Zetter and Wadeo Ida Georgia (Rishwain) Zetter.  In addition to his parents, Joe is preceded in death by his sister, Heifa (Zetter) Phillips; and his nephew, Fred Wilkerson.

Joe and Martha were opposites — he from a community of family-first Lebanese immigrants who settled in Stockton, she from a taciturn English father and gruff Italian mother who had little use for small talk or relatives. She was born in Canada but immigrated to California during a nursing shortage. Their paths crossed one day when they were set up by mutual friends on a blind date. She secretly loved his dark good looks, remarkable ease, and warm, gentlemanly manners. He was drawn to her strong independence and cool indifference. At the end of the date when he asked for her number, she told him to look it up in the phone book - He did.

No one thought their union would last. But while there were lean times and down times, they remained steadfast through the birth and growth of three children and the failures and successes of various businesses.

Joe’s most marked characteristics were his honesty and integrity and the ease with which he passed through life. He rarely held on to worries or grudges and generally assumed the best intentions - likely because his own intentions were good and he couldn’t fathom that those of others would be different. Few people can go through life with no enemies, but Joe seemed to accomplish this with grace. It would be hard to find anyone with a bad word to say about him. He didn’t have a lot of interests. But he was a suave dancer, had a velvety baritone voice and a passion for singing Frank Sinatra. His other love was football. But only college, not the pros. A Notre Dame game was the highlight of any weekend — a love his oldest son, David, shared.

Joe’s survivors include his wife of 62 years, Martha Elizabeth (Aitken) Zetter; his three children: David Zetter and wife, Barbara, of Mechanicsburg, Mark Zetter, Kim Zetter of California; his two grandchildren: Andrew and Jaclyne Zetter of Mechanicsburg; his sister, Irene (Zetter) Wilkerson of Bakersfield, CA; his half-brother, Dennis Zetter; his half-sister, Julie Casella; and his three nephews: Eddie Wilkerson, Joseph Wilkerson, David Wilkerson.

Joe’s family is planning a celebration of life to be held at a later date.  Cremation was private.

Contributions in celebration of Joe’s life can be made to Hospice of Central Pennsylvania (HCP), 1320 Linglestown Road, Harrisburg, PA 17110,

Joe’s family has entrusted his care to Buhrig Funeral Home & Crematory in Mechanicsburg, (717) 766-3421.  Read Joe’s full obituary, offer condolences and sympathy, share stories and memories, upload photographs and videos, light a candle and sign his official guest book by visiting

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