Errol Henry Zistel was born in Sandusky, Ohio on July 16, 1895, to Ottomar and Amelia Zistel. He earned the nickname “Zip” from his days of “zipping” in an iceboat on Sandusky Bay when he was a teenager. He once went from Sandusky to Kelleys Island in eight and a half minutes in his iceboat, at a speed of ninety miles per hour.
Errol Zistel began his military career as fighter pilot in Britain’s Royal Flying Corps and later transferred to General Pershing’s American Air Service during World War I. During the war, he was seriously injured, but after his recovery he remained active in the Reserves. In 1927 he was one of the organizers of Ohio’s first Air National Guard Unit, the 112th Observation Squadron. During World War II, he commanded the fourth Air Support Command at Hamilton Field, California, achieving the rank of Major General. General Zistel actively flew aircraft until his retirement from active service in 1957.
Errol H. Zistel died on January 25, 1968, and was buried with full military honors at Lake View Cemetery in Cleveland, Ohio. Members of the Air Force served as Honor Guards. General Zistel had been a member of the Early Birds, the American Fighter Aces Association, the Order of Daedalus, the Quiet Birdmen, and the Air Force Association. He was a past president of the Cleveland Aviation Club. A lengthy obituary for Errol “Zip” Zistel appeared in the February 3, 1968 issue of the Sandusky Register.