Cover photo for Roberta Kay "Cookie" Zappa's Obituary
Roberta Kay "Cookie" Zappa Profile Photo
1942 Roberta Kay "Cookie" Zappa 2024

Roberta Kay "Cookie" Zappa

August 7, 1942 — February 21, 2024


On Wednesday, February 21, 2024, Roberta Kay (Cookie) Zappa entered eternal rest at the age of 81.  Cookie was born August 8, 1942, in Pittsburgh, PA.  She married her high school sweetheart, Joseph Rocco Zappa, Jr. and they were married for 61 years.  They set up home in Pittsburgh PA, moved to Surname, South America, and settled in Maryville, TN in 1969 where they raised their three children.  For their 50th wedding anniversary, Joe and Cookie renewed their wedding vows surrounded by family and friends.


Cookie was big-hearted, quick-witted, never held back expressing her opinion, and had a knack for telling it exactly like she saw it. She was genuine to a fault and yet those who knew her know that she never sugar coated anything. Cookie was small in stature but seemed to stand 6 feet tall. Her tagline was “suck it up buttercup” which, fitted her to a tee!


She was an avid reader who would read anything that would make you blush. She loved to piddle in what is referred to as “the Italian village" in her backyard. Besides the love of her life, Joe (Rocco), her true happiness were her grandchildren who proudly referred to her as “Nonna”. She was on top of the world and the happiest playing cards with her family and grandkids around the dining room table.


She is survived by her husband Joseph Rocco Zappa Jr, her sister, Barbara Mickey, her daughter, Kelly Thompson, her sons, Chris Zappa and his wife Kristen, Jamie Zappa and his wife Joni , and her grandchildren Davis, Kelsey, Harrison, Tad, Andrew, Rocco, Jacob, and Jessa.  She is also survived by a large circle of extended family members and friends.


She is preceded in death by her son-in-law Dean Thompson and her brother Thomas Steele.


A private memorial and celebration life will be held at a later date. 


In lieu of flowers please consider memorials to Blount County Library or the Dean Thompson Foundation which supports many non-for-profit organizations: Checks payable to Schwab Charitable Fund. Mailing Address: c/o LeConte Wealth Management 703 William Blount Drive Maryville, TN 37801 Condolences may be shared through Smith funeral & Cremation service, Maryville, 865-983-1000, 


To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Roberta Kay "Cookie" Zappa, please visit our flower store.


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