Jose Dolores Zelaya

Jul 11, 1964 - Jun 24, 2021

East Lawn East Sacramento Mortuary
4300 Folsom Boulevard
Sacramento, CA, 95821


Thank you for your thoughts and prayers.
In lieu of flowers, make a donation to a cancer organization of your choice or SJSU International House.


  • carmen zelaya says:

    Querido hermano,

    Te queremos muchísimo. Nos duele en el alma tu partida, pero entendemos que era tu momento de partir Siempre estarás en nuestros corazones!
    Te queremos mucho,

  • Migdalia Cordon says:

    Cuando alguien que amamos se nos va, No hay forma de evitar la tristeza y tener un vacío en el corazón, Pero tenemos La Paz y el consuelo que ya estás junto a nuestro padre celestial. Te quiere tu tía Migdalia 🌺

  • Yasmína Cordon says:

    Querido primo José Zelaya🌻 Chepito me quedo con muy bonitos recuerdos de ti, que voy a atesorar por siempre. También me consuela el saber que ahora estás en un lugar donde ya no hay mas dolor, solo alegría y tranquilidad. Yasmína Cordon 🙏

  • Frances Pena y familia says:

    Querida familia,Los momentos más tristes de una persona es perder a un ser querido como Chepito y es que en esta vida nadie puede reemplazarlo pero ten presente que esa persona te mira y siempre está cuidándoles a ustedes, el siempre estará en nuestra mente y corazón. Mis mas sentido pésame familia

  • Dayse Lorenzana says:

    Hijito mío,
    Sentimos con toda el alma tu partida. Nos dejastes un gran vacío. Te quiero mucho mi amor. Se que estás descansando, que no estás con dolor, pero pronto nos reuniremos. Son las promesas de Nuestro Dios Jehová. Nos miramos pronto. Te quiero mucho hijo mío. Tu mamá,

  • Leann Cherkasky Makhni says:

    Jose, you were an important person in my life for over 25 years. You were always such a calm, positive, non-judgmental, innately kind individual. I have relied on you in so many ways at the International House – Maintenance Guru, Pancake Breakfast Chef Extraordinaire, a helping hand and mentor to so many. You are one of the elite, extraordinary alumni who are considered to be the heart of the I-House with your connections to hundreds of former residents. I am so grateful that you have been my friend and will deeply miss our calls and your visits.

    This was our common refrain: Leann: “I don’t know what I’d do without you.” Jose: “Oh, my dear, you can do a lot more and even faster without me!”
    Leann: “Absolutely not!!”

    With love, Leann

  • Betty Arias says:

    Solo un hasta luego……,,
    José dio su paso a la felicidad eterna.
    Buen viaje……..”Mi Querido Amigo.

  • Andriena Sharice Orey says:

    You are missed mi amigo!
    You have taught me a lot living in the I-house and I appreciate all that I have learned from you. Rest easy, your fun loving spirit will be remembered💕

  • Victor Lopez says:

    Gracias por tu permanente calidez y amabilidad, Jose. Solo fueron unos meses los que pude conocerte en la I-House, pero desde luego te recuerdo con cariño. Consuela saber que has sido muy amado y reconocido hasta este momento, en el que tu partida nos deja un ejemplo y una sonrisa de agradecimiento por lo vivido. DEP

  • Isaiah says:


    I will forever appreciate your passion for the I-House and its residents. You are an inspiration to everyone around you – and a source of joy and laughter. I am grateful for the conversations we had in my time at the I-House. We talked about your life, your experiences in the house, all the silly shenanigans you saw throughout the years. You inspired me to care not only for the building itself, but for its mission and people. Your presence in this life is greatly missed, José.

    Take care, my friend.

  • Mohammed Chahooei says:

    Rest in peace brother Jose.

  • Tracy H. says:

    The world lost a good man; may he Rest In Peace. Sincere condolences and prayers for comfort to Jose’s family. May God bless you all. He was a wonderful man.

  • Francis Baik says:

    …..I can’t say anything…..
    He was the one who made me laugh a lot in my I-Center time.

    Rest in Peace in heaven without any pain.

    God bless Jose and his family.

  • Peter Chandra says:

    Jose, thank you for taking care of us during my stay at the I-House. You were always there to support us when we had special activities. God bless you and your family.

  • Thomas Bardin (former Gustafsson) says:

    Deat Jose,
    I lived with you in the I-House in 94/95. Still, more than 25 years after, I remember your warm heart, your capability to listen and, as Leann writes, your way of never being judgmental. Being with you Jose was often having a big smile on my face – but today I cry.

  • Sunnie Lopez says:

    You will always be my friend, I’m blessed to have had you in my life. I know you are with the Lord. Today you twinkle your toes in heaven…

    With love Sunnie

    My condolences to the family. May you find peace. God bless you…

  • Wauter says:

    Dearest Jose,
    Having lived with you in the I-house fall ‘96, even though this was a long time ago, you made an impression that will last forever: You are imprinted in my mind as one of the kindest souls I ever encountered. I saddens me greatly you are no longer with us. We have lost an angel. My heart goes out to your family. May you find the peace you deserve.

  • I had fond memories of Jose at the I-Center. He was always in a pleasant mood and fun to be around. He was a friendly person and easy to talk to. He was the type of person who lived in the moment and cherished other people’s company. Jose, you are a good man and will sorely be missed! May peace and happiness be with you on the Other Side!

  • Ona Brazwell says:

    My heart is broken. Jose, you were a fixture in my life in my early adulthood and an indelible part of the SJSU I-Center. Your kindness, your warm smile and your laughter left their mark. You will be missed, my friend! All my love to the friends and family who are feeling your loss deeply.

  • Sarah Rossow (née Kilby) says:

    Jose, I have been reading the tributes and stories from people all over the world and I hope you knew in your lifetime that you played an important role in shaping many young minds as they passed through the I-House/I-Centre. Such a wonderful spirit that will be sorely missed, those that will come through the I-House in the future will be poorer for not knowing you and your giant all-encompassing bear hugs. We were all truly blessed to have known you. All my love, Sarah

  • diego bowen says:

    When I think of Jose, I picture his smiling face. That’s Jose. He is also the one who upon seeing me ride up in one of those rent scooter things, without a mask said with laughter, “hey diego, you’re not a kid anymore be careful!!!” He was right…I was 52 then and I could have killed myself lol

    Love and Miss you my friend!

  • Felipe Valencia says:

    Jose Zelaya (oh mejor conocido para mi como Chepito) fuiste una gran persona con el corazón más grande al que haya conosido el cual ayudaba a las personas sacándose el pan de la voca para dárselo a alguien más sin esperar algo a cambio y eso es lo que quedará en mi mente y corazón para siempre el saber que tu corazón era el corazón más bondadoso y lleno de amor que conocí el cual savia en que momento brindarte amor y cariño y eso me queda en mi corazón por que gracias a eso me ayudaste muchas beses gracias por todo Chepito nos volveremos a ver te queremos Chepito

  • Erika Faust says:

    Jose, you are always one of the best parts of my memories and thoughts of the I-House! I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to live at the I-House when you did and get to know you. I loved getting to see you when I came back to San Jose, and it is hard to know I won’t see you at the I-House next time. You are one of the kindest and nicest people I have ever met.
    My condolences and love to your family. Jose was a truly special person.
    All my love, Erika

  • Caroline Haas says:

    Jose’s amazing smile and dedication to the I House
    are forever in our hearts.

  • Brittany Doxtater says:

    So sorry to hear this. He was a great man and friend to Ihouse!

  • YiWei Lin says:

    We never had a chance to talk. When I lived in I-Center, I only knew that you come to I-Center to deliver dinner from Dining Commons. After I moved out of I-Center, you moved into I-Center. I didn’t have a chance to know you before, but I won’t be anymore. We will never forget everything you have done for I-Center/ I-House. It’s really sad to know that you passed away.

  • Roxana says:

    Querido primo, para poder describir el tipo de persona que fuiste no me alcanzaría en esta nota. Pero con mucho honor puedo decir que fuiste y serás unas de las personas muy especial en nuestro corazón. Fuiste un gran amigo y nunca olvidare todos los consejos, ayuda en mis estudios que me brindaste, por mucho que no me gustaba la matemáticas pudiste hacer que se me quedara con toda tu paciencia y simplemente siempre tenias las mejores palabras para levantarnos el ánimo y el corazón y asegúrame que todo Si Se puede ! Definitivamente fuiste una persona que no morirás.. ya que as dejado una huella muy marcada en nuestros corazones. Nos dejas unas memorias bellas que siempre seguiremos recordando, nos enseñaste a nunca darnos por vencidos y amar la vida !! Se que estás en un mejor lugar y acompañado de la abuelita y el resto de la familia que ya están contigo. Te vamos a extrañar mucho y siempre te llevaremos en nuestro corazón con mucho cariño.
    Te queremos mucho Chepito,
    Roxana,Nestor, Kassandra, Esmeralda y Francheska. Que descanses primo😘

  • Oscar Bolanos says:

    José Dolores Zelaya
    Con el corazón dolido por la pérdida física de tú presencia pero con la fé inquebrantable de tú proyecto de vida ,
    Siempre hablastes de vida y no de la terrible oscuridad,pasastes por nuestras vidas como una Estrella dejando una estela de brillo
    Siempre viviras en nuestros corazones
    Chepito; vuela,vuela,vuela alto libre como el viento,libre del dolor y sufrimiento y que Dios te tenga en sú santo seno, este no es un adios sino un hasta luego.

    Oscar Bolanos Cueva
    Gladis de Bolanos Vasquez.

  • WeiXian Choo says:

    Jose, it was in summer 2019 that I got to know you. Coming up with new ideas to improve the I-House, while a bunch of us worked on it together. It was a memorable time. You’re such a kind, friendly and cheerful person, I would be at the TV room and you’d come sit down and chitchat. I never would’ve known how to make chilaquiles if it’s not for your passion for PCB. I’m grateful to have known you. You’ve lived a wonderful life, Jose. You will be missed.

  • Carol Stewart says:

    Jose was such a huge part of my life while I lived at the I-House. I can still hear his laugh when I think of his smile. He lived and loved large and everyone will miss him. God Bless him and his family.

  • Ronil says:

    A dear friend to everyone and a very happy person that was always smiling and keeping up everyone’s spirits! Rest In Peace Jose… you will be missed by the Ihouse family and all the residents that got to meet you

  • Maria A. Zelaya says:

    Dear Brother, Jose,

    Thank you for sharing your life time with us, for being our only brother, for growing up with me and being there when we needed you.

    Thank you for praising and eating the food we cooked for our gatherings. You enjoyed it so much.

    I am heartbroken at your leaving us. You are pain free now, and I am consoled.

    I will miss you always!

    With love, Maria

  • Cyrille & Maggie M says:

    Jose, I do not believe there is enough words and time in the world to describe the amazing human you were. I met you straight out of the “boat” at the I-House in 1996 and I will miss these never ending talks about nothing. Your kindness, your always availability, your open heart, you, will be missed. I am please though that I had the luxury to know you and to be considered one of your friend. I wish I could have one more minute to hug you, I wish I had one more minute to tell you everything, I wish… I do know that you are waiting for us up there, so start grilling because eventually we coming, I will bring some wine and we can party again like it is 1996…. “how y’all call it” – Best Jose moment, was to walk from the SJSU Ballroom from the 25 anniversary iHouse reunion and we sneak a case of wine from the party to carry on at the i-House. We were walking on the dark alleys and we got stop by Police campus, we hide the case under an orange cone/tub and we got handcuff and pictured with our camera, and released… And when we left, the cop asked, you sure you are not forgetting anything? we both said no and he said, take your case of wine from under the cone…. Love you Jose: Cyrille Maggie, Chloe, Maxime…

  • Nipul Gandhi says:

    You are missed by people all over the world. Such was your smile, cheerfulness and helpful nature. Rest in Peace, friend.

  • Nao Magami says:

    Hi Jose
    When I met you for the first time at the I-house in 2018 for the 40th. anniversary. I introduced my self as a first resident in 1978. You were surprised and took me the building tour. You were so kind like we have been friends for many years. I can’t forget that day.
    My condolences and love to your family. I will miss you!!
    Nao Magami / Los Angeles CA

  • Christy Herlick Gibson says:

    I am so sad to hear this news. Jose’s warmth, humor, and generous heart will be greatly missed. I’m so grateful for meeting and working with Jose many years ago when I was on staff at the SJSU International Center (1992-94) and to have reconnected at the 2018 I-House Reunion in San Jose. Bill, Noah, and I send our love and condolences to his family and friends. 💕

  • David Koster says:

    I had the honor to work with José in organizing the SJSU International House’s Pancake Breakfast, an event he was deeply passionate about. Throughout the years that I’ve known him, José has been nothing but kind, supportive, funny, and full of heart. Whether it was through playing card games, watching TV, grabbing food together, or just chatting, José’s presence was very warm and comforting. Anyone who has met José could tell you about how much passion he had for the International House and its community, whether it be past, present, or future. May he rest in peace.

  • Charles Black says:

    Jose and I went for some time back, as I hired him initially to work at the DC! He was born for such a time as this, to enter into the lives & hearts of those he met & blessed with his uniqueness, love, and understanding! Too numerous were our conversations about life to talk about here! He lived and loved life and, all of the people within it; truly ‘he touched the world’ in his short lifetime! I Will Miss My Friend! And… every time I see a Tabasco sauce bottle; it’ll be his way of saying… “I’ll see you soon!”

    To The Family, So many grieve with you because days won’t quite be the same without your/our beloved Jose! Lives were made better, because of him and how special he was! Vaya con Dios, mi Amigo y Hermano! Praying for Comfort & Peace to All Family Members! I’m sorry that I can’t physically be there with you to celebrate him today!
    GOD Bless You Real Good,
    C & Family

  • Anestro Arrindell says:

    Jose, my old roommate from my I-house days from spring 1994. We were roommates for just one semester but even after 27 years I still have very found memorys of that period. Partys
    in our room, ordering pizza at 1 AM, hiding your roommates bed when he wants to sleep. We had lots of fun! Thats probably why we got the Best Roommate Award of spring 1994 together with Kay.
    Thank you for giving me these happy memorys. May you rest in peace now roommate.

  • Ken Otani says:


    The time spent together at I-House is one of my best memories.

    You made the best hot breakfast than anyone on the planet. I remember our secret night cooking.

    You are a special friend to me we share the same birthday. You always come to my mind on our birthday.

    You will be remenbered by the I-House alumni from all over the world.

    Rest in piece.

    Ken from Japan

  • Weijen chen says:

    You were my great support while I was at International House. By the time i was first time to leave home and family I house was my second home and you were my elder brother to be around to back up and a great coach

    You will be missed and I miss you already!

  • Varrun V says:


    You were the one who taught us how to make pancakes early morning while having fun. I looked up to this day every semester. We still think of you while making pancakes elsewhere in the world.

    It will never be the same. Rest easy.

  • Tom Metz says:

    Dear Jose,

    Rest in peace, my friend. Thank you for always being kind and helpful to the I-House residents.


  • Daanyaal Had Saeed says:

    Dear Jose,

    You were a mentor and a really close friend of mine at the SJSU I-House. Our long nights of conversation, and midnight snacks will never be forgotten. You truly were a great man and will forever be engraved in my memory.

    Rest in Peace.

  • Ming Cheng says:

    Dear Jose,

    You made I-House more like a home to us kids who traveled across the world to start a new life journey here. Chatting and chuckling with you at every breakfast always started off my day beautifully. Thank you for being such a kind, calm, warm and supportive friend.

    Rest In Peace, and you will be missed.


  • Mehrdad says:

    I-House may have lost you as an unforgettable friend, but my house lost an extraordinary brother in arms and a kindred soul. I will never know if you viewed me as a big brother or I envied you for your free-spirited soul and forgiving heart. We are all better humans because you were here. I pledge to you I will do everything better because you believed in me.

  • Henrik Hulten says:

    Wow! For those of us fortunate enough to to have known Jose and lived under the same roof as him, I know we all have good memories of him. He was a fixture for so many of us, and it’s hard to wrap my head around the fact that you no longer will be seen at pancake breakfasts or I-house reunions. You were the best. Rest in Peace, my friend. 💔

  • Carlotta Zorzi says:

    Jose, thank you for making the I-house a home. You’ve touched so many lives and you will be missed by many.

    Rest in Peace dear Jose.


  • Yoko (Watanabe) Shiroyama says:

    You’re in my every memory and story of I-house. Your warm and big hug gave me tremendous encouragement when I was stuck, your yummy breakfast gave me big smile and a bit more weight, your hands to fix issues at house gave me a big relief, and your friendship with all the talk and laugh we had together made my I-house life unforgettable. I miss you, Jose. Rest in piece.

  • Shiny & Yuki says:

    We’re truly shocked and sad to see the news. Like a lot of residents, we too have many good memories of working with José on Pancake Breakfast, and he’s always smiling, helpful and willing to teach.
    José was a great guy with a big heart. It is without doubt that he will be missed by I-House alumni around the world. Our thoughts and prayers are with José’s family.

  • Vanessa Garcia says:

    Jose thank you for making the time I worked at Ihouse the most memorable experience I’ve ever had while in San Jose.

  • Kerstin says:

    Dear Jose,
    You truly made this world a better place. Way back in 1993, you were one of the first people I met at the I-House, who welcomed me and made me feel at home. Thank you so much. You were kind and supportive in so many different ways, you let all of us enjoy your pancakes and you taught me how to handle the breakfast job…. I could not have done without you! It was always fun to be around you and your free spirit.
    Thank you for many fond and fun memories.
    Thank you for being a wonderful human being.
    May you rest in eternal peace, dear Jose.
    My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family, Kerstin

  • Tomas Schindler says:

    Dear Jose,
    You were a strong pillar of the Ihouse. It was a pleasure meeting you and experiencing your warmth and humor.
    Rest in peace.

  • Momoko Iwagami says:

    Dear Jose,

    How you made everyone feel welcomed in the I-house was simply amazing. When I think of you, the first thing I remember is your smile. It was radiating happy energy. Also, I cannot forget your serious face during Pancake Breakfast. I loved that how committed you were to provide high-quality pancakes. Thank you for sharing your love and care with people.
    Rest in Peace, Jose.

  • Jorge Ferreira says:

    Always ready to greet us with a smile and a calm, relaxed attitude. Thank you for all the good memories and for consistently being there for I-House residents. Rest in peace, my friend.

  • Tasnim says:

    Dear Jose,
    Your easy smile and unique ability to make anyone feel at ease is how I will always remember you.
    You would patiently listen to my stories about growing up and comfort me when I was home sick.
    Thank you for your kindness. May you rest peace knowing that you have touched so many lives in a positive way.

  • Arash Motamedi says:

    Jose, you created so many wonderful memories for me and generations of I-House residents. We were so lucky to have you in our lives, and your great leadership and impact will be missed. Rest In Peace.

  • Jan O. says:

    Dear José, Thank you for your incredible dedication to the I-House! It was a pleasure having you on the team of I-House residents when you were head resident in and I was one of the resident advisors in 1999-2000. I remember your big push to get the house cleaned out and prepped for remodeling in the summer of 2000. It was a lot of work but you did it! We miss you! Rest In Peace.

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