"He was a self-made man," he said, and the early setback "made him into a fairly good success."
Mr. Zemitis "did a lot of his training by correspondence" courses, because community colleges did not exist in his day.
He learned to draw blueprints and read them.
Until he could become proficient, he took his first job, with a soap manufacturer in Croydon, Bucks County.
While there, he got to know the head of Burlington Electric, a construction firm in Burlington City, which he joined as a draftsman.
Eventually, Mr. Zemitis "did a lot of estimating" on bids for electrical work at firms such as Campbell Soup Co. and General Electric Co.
"I used to work for the company in the summertime," his son said. "I remember going up to the Lawrenceville School" for an electrical job.
"But it was not just a Burlington company," he said, remembering a business trip that his father took to Illinois and Iowa.
By the time that Mr. Zemitis retired in 1975, he had been vice president of the firm for 10 years.
There were advantages.
"He was good friends with the owner," who sometimes shared his season tickets to Eagles games, his son said, and though the seats were in the upper deck at Franklin Field, they were on a 40-yard line.
Because those seats were far closer to the field than similar seats at the eventual South Philadelphia homes of the Eagles, "that was a lot of fun."
In retirement, Mr. Zemitis was a consultant to the Maple Shade firm Dickman & Hansen Inc.
He was also a longtime member of Gideons International, which distributes Bibles.
Besides his son, Mr. Zemitis is survived by five grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. His wife of 66 years, Lillian, died in 2008.
A viewing was set from 10 to 11 a.m. Monday, Oct. 14, at the First Baptist Church of Willingboro, 216 Sunset Rd., Willingboro, N.J. 08046, with a funeral there at 11 a.m. Burial is to be in Odd Fellows Cemetery, Burlington.
Donations may be made to the church.
Condolences may be offered to the family at www.pagefuneralhome.com.