Cover photo for Robert Stephen Zetzl's Obituary
Robert Stephen Zetzl Profile Photo
1939 Bob 2024

Robert Stephen Zetzl

August 4, 1939 — January 24, 2024

Indianapolis, IN

Robert S. Zetzl, of Indianapolis, Indiana passed away at the age of 84. Bob was born to the late John and Marie (Scheckelreiter) Zetzl who had both immigrated from Germany and met while taking classes to learn the English language. They instilled in their family a love of learning and the importance of faith, family and service to others – lessons that would stay with Bob throughout his life and be passed on to his own children and grandchildren.

He was a proud member of the Sacred Heart High School graduating class of 1957 where he served as class treasurer and was honored as salutatorian.  Bob continued his education at Purdue University where he earned his bachelor’s and later his master’s degree in chemistry. He also served in the Indiana National Guard during this time. 

Following graduation in 1961, Bob was an inaugural member of the staff that welcomed students to the brand-new Arlington High School - a place where he would teach chemistry and physics for over 30 years. He was the faculty sponsor for the Science Club, the Bowling Club and Student Council and served as a chaperone for countless student events. Late in his career, Bob moved to Washington High School to serve as the Department Head for the Science Department. He then briefly returned to his beloved Arlington so he could retire as a Golden Knight. He was honored with numerous teaching awards over the years including the Indianapolis Public Schools Above and Beyond the Call of Duty Award.

It was also at Arlington that he met the love of his life, Martha Sue Brown. They married in 1966 and until her passing in 1994, were a dynamic duo in all that they did, including raising a family and serving students and educators through classroom teaching, professional societies and local, national and international presentations.

Bob was an engaged parent and could be found participating in PTO events, serving as a camp counselor, coaching Little League and attending all manner of sports and extra-curricular activities for his children.  (He would later be found attending pine wood derbies, athletic contests, concerts and award ceremonies for his grandchildren.)  

He was active in his faith and was a member of Christ the King parish where he served as an usher, eucharistic minister, member of the resurrection choir and on Parish Council. He enjoyed volunteering for the summer festival and found joy in the quiet peace of the adoration chapel. He was honored with the Spirit of Christ the King award in 2019.

Bob was an avid supporter of scouting, serving Troop 133 for over 40 years. He started as a parent volunteer but ultimately served a wide assortment of roles including Treasurer, assistant scoutmaster, scoutmaster and board member for the Holt Community House. He enjoyed assisting youth with their journey to adulthood and was extremely proud of Troop 133’s record of helping young men to achieve the rank of Eagle Scout. He was involved with the Voyageur program, Order of the Arrow and Firecrafter organization. He was recognized with both the Silver Beaver and the Bronze Pelican award for leadership and service. In 2005, he was humbled to be named a Distinguished Hoosier by Governor Mitch Daniels. 

Bob is survived by two sons, Steve (Martha) Zetzl and Brian Zetzl, three grandchildren, Abby (Mason) Willoughby, Drew Zetzl and Matthew Zetzl his siblings Alfred Zetzl, Father Ralph Zetzl, Linda (Carl) Stewart, his sisters-in-law Janet Zetzl and Lana Brown and close family friend and confidante, Sue Becker. He was preceded in death by his wife, Martha Sue and his brother John Zetzl.

Calling will be at the Flanner Buchanan – Broad Ripple from 4:00pm – 8:00pm on Monday, January 29th. A Rosary Service will be held from 7:30pm – 8:00pm. A mass and celebration of his life will take place on Tuesday at 10:00am at Christ the King Catholic Church in Indianapolis.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Christ the King Catholic Church in Indianapolis or Society of St. Vincent de Paul - Indianapolis

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Robert Stephen Zetzl, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Monday, January 29, 2024

4:00 - 7:30 pm (Eastern time)

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Monday, January 29, 2024

7:30 - 8:00 pm (Eastern time)

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Funeral Mass

Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Starts at 10:00 am (Eastern time)

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