Louis Battista Zamaroni, a Santa Rosa native and lifelong resident, died Saturday at home following a long illness. He was 84.

A former Sonoma County sheriff's deputy and veteran of the Korean War, Zamaroni was co-founder of Z&G Quarry off Petaluma Hill Road, south of Santa Rosa.

Today it's known as Wheeler Zamaroni Landscape Supplies.

It's located near his grandparents' old farm house, the remnant of a dairy that they operated after emigrating from Italy in the 1890s.

His grandparents knew one of Santa Rosa's most famous residents, world-renowned "plant wizard" Luther Burbank.

"They had an old milk truck and they used to take Luther Burbank to his garden in Sebastopol," said his daughter Sandra Zamaroni of Santa Rosa.

Louis Zamaroni attended St. Rose Elementary School. He was quarterback of the football team at Santa Rosa High School, graduating in 1947.

After high school, he joined the Air Force and went to Korea where he was a staff sergeant and airplane mechanic.

After he was discharged, he had a chicken ranch and joined the sheriff's office, where he worked for a few years as a patrol deputy.

But by the late 1960s he was in the quarry business with partner Ed Gugelliamini.

"He did more of the loading," said his daughter Christine Rogers of Santa Rosa. "I think he enjoyed it, talking to people. He was very outgoing too. He loved people."

Zamaroni was involved with different Catholic organizations. He was a member of St. Rose Catholic Church; the Young Men's Institute Branch #40; Knights of Columbus; Italian American Club; and the Italian Catholic Federation.

His wife of 56 years, Elsie Angelina Zamaroni, died in February 2011.

He enjoyed fishing and hunting and also loved to cook. His polenta, pasta sauce, and chicken barbecue were legendary.

Whether it was lending tools, hauling hay, or helping someone move, "whatever it was, my Dad never said &‘no' to anyone. He believed we were put on this earth to help others," said Sandra Zamaroni.

In addition to his daughters, he is survived by his son, Louis G. Zamaroni of Santa Rosa; sister Celia Cunningham of Santa Rosa; and six grandchildren.

Visitation will be at Lafferty & Smith Colonial Chapel from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday.

A funeral mass will be at 10 a.m. Friday at St. Rose Catholic Church.

Private burial will be in Calvary Catholic Cemetery.

— Clark Mason