In Memoriam: Reverend Donald W. Zimmerman


Don Zimmerman (B.Div. 1939) died peacefully on May 14, 2014, at him home in Indianapolis, IN. Don leaves behind 4 children, 6 grandchildren and 8 great-grandchildren and his first wife, Lois.

Born in Belden, NB, in 1915, he grew up in small towns in Iowa, got his undergraduate degree at Coe College in Cedar Rapids, IA, and then his Bachelor of Divinity in 1939 at "Presbyterian Theological Seminary" -- the previous name of McCormick. He earned a Ph.D. in Sociology from Drew University in NJ in 1957. In 1966, he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from Coe College. He first served Presbyterian churches in Leoti and Tribune, KS. During WWII he was a chaplain in the Army Air Corps on Guam. Upon returning home from WWII, he was called to the First Presbyterian Church in Whippany, NJ. He also served as minister at Presbyterian churches in Cambridge, KS, and Scales Mound, IL.

He served as director of the Ecumenical Center of Renewal and Planning in Merom, IN, and later in Indianapolis. Upon retirement he was a volunteer coordinator for Habitat for Humanity and a consumer credit counselor in Topeka, KS. The Center is an institution that worked with rural congregations of various denominations -- organizing them to cooperate in their outreach to the communities in their areas -- counties or groups of counties. He later moved to Fairfield Bay, AR, and finally back to Indianapolis. He loved camping and spending summers in the Adirondack Mountains with his family.

While serving in Kansas, much of his work was with the Synod of Kansas in the 1950s filling the pulpits of pastor-less churches all over the state. Often he traveled to a different church every Sunday, taking his son and daughter with him.

His father, Emery E. Zimmerman, and his brother, Gordon I. Zimmerman, were both Presbyterian ministers as was his mother's father who immigrated to Canada from Scotland before coming to the U.S.