By Ryan T. Scott
Many men have been affectionately known as "Big Daddy," but there was only one man so powerful and determined to be the best that Big Daddy may not be a big enough name. Mr. Percy J. Zachary was his name, and he passed away peacefully on December 23. As stated at his funeral, his was an historic life to celebrate and remember.
Percy J. Zachary aka "Big Daddy"
If you want to make history, you should know history. Many men have been affectionately known as "Big Daddy," but there was only one man so powerful and determined to be the best that Big Daddy may not be a big enough name.
Mr. Percy J. Zachary was his name, and he passed away peacefully on December 23. As stated at his funeral, his was an historic life to celebrate and remember.
The Big Ten is the most historic conference in the history of college football. Percy J. Zachary was the first African-American from the University of Minnesota to be named All-Big Ten. In other words, he was the first and best Black football player that our University of Minnesota had as an example of the shiny, polished diamonds that are consistently produced here in many fields. The first.
Diamonds reflect the full spectrum of colors, and Percy J. Zachary reflected the full spectrum of a magnificent man.
First of all, he met his wife-to-be, Martha Scales, at the University of Minnesota and built a life together that would last fifty-four years. Thomas, Mitchell, Sharon, Dennis and Steven are the successful children that their love for one another brought to our community.
Second, Zachary was an extremely hard-working man. Not only did he hold strong jobs with strong employers, but those jobs always seemed to be in the nature of helping others. This is exemplified in his former employment as Director of Social Services Programs for Dakota County.
Naturally, Mr. Zachary's hard work did not stop with his family and employers, but continued on to many community and civic organizations. One of his most beloved memberships was with Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Incoporated, which he joined during his historic time at the University of Minnesota.
Zachary learned achievement growing up in a home that embraced family, education and culture. These foundations can be credited to his father, J. Percy Zachary. His love for books, knowledge and culture was the seed for Zachary's many successes in life, and also the seeds of what the whole St. Paul and Minnesota community continue to reap from his massive extended family.
This is what Percy J. Zachary did: he extended his love light years beyond the reach of his great big arms.
When you think of Mr. Percy J. Zachary extending his great big arms, imagine that he is doing so not just out of immense love, but out of the need to keep his cuffs and cuff links perfectly adjusted. This brotha was sharp, ladies and gentlemen. When words like meticulous and impeccable are used to describe a mans sense of style, you know you are talking about one of the best.
So let's go back over this. He was the first African-American All-Big Ten football player from the University of Minnesota, married fifty-four years, gave back in every way possible and dressed like he should be on the cover of Jet and Ebony magazine.
Diamonds are valuable for a reason, and we only scratched the surface of what could be said about Percy J. Zachary. He was a diamond of the finest cut and clarity. May we continue to honor magnificent men like him as examples to help lead us through the darkness of today.
Mr. Percy J. Zachary. The Big Daddy. May his diamond shine in the sky forever.