Shelby Neighbors Cover
Zott Family
Steve the Dog

Meet the Zott Family

A Testament to Love, Service, and Community

As seen in Shelby Neighbors Magazine, June 2024

Jean Zott’s story begins approximately 4,000 miles away from her current home in Shelby Township, amidst the cobblestone streets and historic charm of Orléans, France, where her father was serving in the U.S. Army. “I have a special place in my heart for veterans,” she shares. “One saved my life!”

Indeed, at the tender age of seven months old, Jean was airlifted to Landstuhl, Germany where Lt. Col. Dean F. Winn met her mother on the airstrip and took Jean from her mother’s arms. He performed a relatively new open-heart surgery on Jean. This profound experience ignited within her a lifelong commitment to honoring the sacrifices of veterans - one of many causes she is passionate about today.

Years later, fate intervened once more as Jean crossed paths with her soulmate, Dan Zott, amidst the bustling campus life of Central Michigan University. Their love story, woven with cherished memories of the "Zott House" party where they met, and a picturesque wedding day on May 20, 1989, blossomed into a shared journey of faith, family, and service. Together, they raised two remarkable children, 32-year-old Rachel and 29-year-old Jake, whose individual paths reflect the dedication instilled by their parents. Both of them were active in sports at Malow and Eisenhower High Schools, right here in our community. Jake was a two-year All-State Lacrosse athlete.

Dan graduated from Walsh College and now works for Ally Financial as a Software Engineer. Rachel followed in her mother’s footsteps and also graduated from Central Michigan University, going on to become a National Park Ranger and a Yoga Therapist. Jake graduated from Michigan State University and works as an IT Sales Executive.

Jean earned her CPA license after graduation. She started her career in public accounting working for a variety of clients including individual, corporate and government. She was hired by one of these clients, Joe Randazzo’s Fruit & Vegetable, Inc. Randazzo’s is the largest family-owned retail produce company in Michigan with four locations. They also operate a nursery in Macomb Township as well as down in Tennessee. Jean was responsible for all financial duties including financial reporting, payroll and all tax preparation for the corporation, related partnerships and the owners of the company. She was also in charge of all federal, state and local compliance. Jean retired from Joe Randazzo’s in 2018 to care for her mother whose Alzheimer’s had progressed. Jean also started her own accounting and tax business in 1988 and continues today with over 250 clients.

Both Jean and Dan enjoy reading, hiking, traveling, and movies. Their family enjoys traveling anywhere, but have a special love for National Parks. A majority of their relatives live locally, though, and they make family time a priority as well as friends. Jean has organized two groups in the area: a golf league at Sycamore Hills, and a monthly book club. A woman of many talents, Jean joined Avon Players last year and was a cast member in the Miracle on 34th Street production.

Yet, it is their unwavering commitment to serving others that truly distinguishes the Zott family. Dan and Jean are part of a group that serves economically marginalized individuals in Detroit. Twice a month for the past five years, they go downtown and serve a hot meal outdoors. They also collect and purchase clothing, blankets, and toiletries to distribute. Shelby Township’s Buy Nothing Facebook group regularly provides items for their service. “Frequently, I come home to find socks, soap or blankets on my porch. I know it is from this generous group,” Jean explains. In addition, Jean serves as a member of the 5K Run/Walk committee for the Cassie Hines Shoes Cancer Foundation, which is a local charity that supports young adults fighting cancer. The Zott family are also members of St. Kieran’s Catholic Church, where Rachel and Jake served as altar servers. Jean currently serves as a Eucharist Minister.

Within their home in Shelby Orchards, the Zott family has always had pets. They lost their beloved dog, Steve, in October 2023. Not only was Steve a neighborhood celebrity, but he was also an unlicensed therapy dog. Jean would take Steve to a long-term care facility to visit the residents and her mom. Jean and Dan look forward to welcoming in a fur baby once again, as they will soon be fostering a Golden Retriever named Simba.

The Zotts really do live in a very special neighborhood. The families get together often for BBQs, outings and travel. The neighbors also participate in supporting local charities by attending their events together. As Jean embarks on a new chapter, stepping into the political arena as a candidate for the Michigan House of Representatives for District 59, her commitment to service and advocacy remains unwavering. With a heart full of hope and a vision for a brighter future, Jean seeks to amplify the voices of her community, championing causes close to her heart with wisdom, integrity, and compassion.

She is running on the Republican ticket and will be on the primary ballot for the August 6th election. Jean has always been interested in Federal and State tax policy and budgeting. In fact, a few years ago, she wrote a Facebook piece titled “Why a Primary is Important”: “I was trying to stress that voting in a primary election was as important as voting in the general election. Great candidates are eliminated in the primary race due to low turnout. It is our responsibility as United States citizens to research and vote in every election. A lot of people are discouraged by decisions our government is making. The ballot box is where your voice is heard the loudest,” emphasizes Jean.

Several years ago, Jean started speaking at Shelby Township board meetings on a number of issues including election integrity and unnecessary ordinances. Many people started asking her to run for office. “I said no for six months,” she admits. “Then I started to feel that ‘tap’ on my shoulder. I have a lot to offer. If I am elected, I would be the only CPA in the Michigan house or senate. I have many strong opinions about our budget and tax policy. We can do better and I hope to bring my special skills to Lansing. I am excited and ready to work hard for the district I live in and the state I love!”

“We could have never imagined that our life in Shelby Township would have brought us together with so many beautiful people. The friendship through our kids’ activities, church and neighborhood has truly been one of God’s greatest blessings,” Jean says. “As we are stepping into our 60s, we want everyone to know: it’s never too late for a new career, hobby, adventure, or opportunity to make new friends. We are blessed.”

Jean and Dan would like to thank everyone behind Shelby Magazine for the opportunity to share their story.

Photos were taken in the garden of Karen McCuen, Hall of Fame Shelby Township Beautification Award Winner.

My goal is to bring a fresh perspective on taxes, spending and make changes that make sense for our community and the future.

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