Cover photo for Rafael Zayas's Obituary
Rafael Zayas Profile Photo

Rafael Zayas

December 27, 1937 — May 22, 2024

Liberty, New York

Rafael Zayas

We are saddened to announce the passing of Rafael Zayas of Liberty, NY who died in his home surrounded by his loved ones on May 22, 2024. He was 86.

Born on December 27, 1937, in Puerto Rico, Rafael joined the United States Air Force before settling in New York and ultimately living in Liberty for the last 53 years. He was a lifelong fan of Jazz and big band music, the Mets, playing cards, talking politics, and telling “bubbe meises” to his children and grandchildren.

Survivors include his wife, Sheila Zayas; his children Rafael Zayas and his wife Katy of Morris Plains, NJ, Pearl Zayas of Lake Huntington, NY, and Lori Podell and her husband Joe Podell of Garnerville, NY; four grandchildren, Benjamin, Rafi, Isaac and Luna; his siblings, Judith Zayas, Carlos Zayas and Eduardo DeSoto.

Rafael was preceded in death by his parents Rafael and Catalina, his brother Freddie, and his dear cousin José Rafael.

There will be a Celebration of Life on Saturday, May 25, 2024 from 10:00 am – 12:00 pm at Harris Funeral Home, West St. at Buckley, Liberty, NY.  A memorial service will begin at 12:00 pm.

Memorial contributions in Rafael’s name can be made to the Redhawk Indian Arts Council Inc.

Dignified cremation is being provided by the Harris Crematorium, LLC.

Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to the Harris Funeral Home, West St. at Buckley, Liberty, NY 845-292-0001 or 845-439-5200

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


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