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James  L.  Zimmerman

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“I just learned of Jimmy's passing and send my deepest condolences to his friends and family. I had been writing Jimmy over recent months as part of a...Read More »
1 of 19 | Posted by: Terri Hertzell - Portage, MI

“Our hearts are filled with sadness upon reading of James's passing. We will keep the family in our thoughts & prayers. ”
2 of 19 | Posted by: Jane (Rassel) Tomaro - Monroe, MI

“I am Jim's daughter Tracie. A lot of you are mistaking my dad James Zimmerman for someone else. He was not a teacher. ”
3 of 19 | Posted by: Tracie Dietrick - Ashland, PA

“In behalf of the Blaine Zimmerman family, please accept our condolences. Jimmy was a great husband, father, and educator. He will be missed. ...Read More »
4 of 19 | Posted by: Don Zimmerman - Battle Creek, MI

“Jim and I were friends in school many years ago. He was a great guy and I thing of him often. So sorry for your loss. ”
5 of 19 | Posted by: Robin Terry - LaSalle, MI

“Mr Z, like so many others who had the pleasure of taking any of his classes, was one of my absolute favorite teachers. I've thought of him often over...Read More »
6 of 19 | Posted by: Roxanne Clark - Student

“Sorry for your lossJim, Ann & Jesse together again Big hugs ”
7 of 19 | Posted by: Rita Cusack-McCann - Manistee, MI

“Although most others called him "Mr. Z", my name for him was "Big Z." What he lacked in stature, he MORE than made up for in spirit and personality....Read More »
8 of 19 | Posted by: Linda (Hooghart) Kaiser - Holland, MI

“Mr Z was my english teacher, I somehow managed to have a class with him for three out of four years...what a great man, we always had fun, and always...Read More »
9 of 19 | Posted by: Meda Wolfe Fender - MI - Student

“Dear Jake, Jessica and Jan. We are saddened to hear of your Dad's passing! Praying you find peace and comfort in our Savior Jesus. We have loved...Read More »
10 of 19 | Posted by: Coach and Cindy Sitz - Manidtee, MI

“Sorry for the loss of an amazing person. Mr.Z was my high school English teacher and was my favorite. His classes were always fun and I loved going...Read More »
11 of 19 | Posted by: Nicole Jennings - Arcadia, MI

“Dear Jake, Jessica and Jan ”
12 of 19 | Posted by: Coach and Mrs Sitz Sitz - MI

“You encouraged us, not so much on what to think but how to think. Robert ”
13 of 19 | Posted by: Robert Bushway - Frankfort, MI

“Mr.Z had the biggest impact on my education. He was the best teacher I have ever had and I was proud to call him a friend. There are not many...Read More »
14 of 19 | Posted by: Dawn BAXTER - Hattiesburg, MS

“One of my favorite teachers ever. He was such a wonderful amazing person. I loved seeing him in the halls of school. Class of 2000. ”
15 of 19 | Posted by: Jon Breitner - Bear lake, MI

“Dear Jake & Family, I am so sad to hear about Mr. Z's passing. I am grateful to have known him as my teacher. He's the one person who was there when...Read More »
16 of 19 | Posted by: Kristen Asiala Smith - Ludington, MI

“Rip Jim you will be dearly missed ”
17 of 19 | Posted by: Ruth Brown - Coworker

18 of 19 | Posted by: A.J. US Army Retired

“In loving memory of my Uncle Jim. We will love you and miss you always. He always made us feel at home when we stayed with him and my aunt. He always...Read More »
19 of 19 | Posted by: Christine Brown - Family

Wheat Emblem

James Leonard Zimmerman of Manistee, Michigan passed away peacefully on December 18, 2020 in Battle Creek, MI.

Jimmy was born in Toledo, OH on January 9, 1950 to parents Clyde and Ila (Romaine) Zimmerman. He grew up in Monroe, MI. James graduated from Monroe High School, Class of 1968, and then went on to earn his Bachelor's degree from Western Michigan University in 1972. He earned his Master's degree from Eastern Michigan University in 1982.

It was in Monroe that Jimmy met his soulmate, Ann Nabors. On June 1, 1974 they were united in marriage at St. Paul's United Methodist Church in Monroe. They shared many adventures together and loved deeply.

Jimmy had the gift of teaching, and began his career at the Hall of the Divine Child, a Catholic boy's boarding school in Monroe. He then sold life insurance for Northwestern Mutual in northern Michigan after he and Ann moved to Manistee in 1984. Jim spent the last 25 years of his career as an English teacher at Brethren High School, retiring in 2010. He collected homonyms, and wrote a book that used them as a tool for high school English teachers to instruct the parts of speech and writing. "Mr. Z.'s" compassion for his students, warm personality, and sense of humor made his classroom a haven for his students.

Jimmy was a jack of many trades. He inherited his "green thumb" from his mother and loved gardening. His gardens produced abundant harvests used for one of his other talents, cooking. Jimmy loved spending every minute in the kitchen preparing fabulous meals with his Sweet Annie. He was also a talented banjoist and juggler, perfecting his craft and skill at each. Jimmy was an avid soccer fan. He was the coach for nearly all of his three sons' soccer teams and refereed youth soccer for many years.

Jimmy's family was always his most important priority. He was a caring, patient father and loved being "Grandy" to his two granddaughters. The staff at The Legacy at the Oaks were dear friends for Jimmy during these last months and made him feel loved and supported when his family was unable to visit due to COVID.

James is survived by his sons Jake (Jessica) of Battle Creek, MI, and Jan of Portland, OR, and granddaughters Aila Mae and Charlotte. He is also survived by three sisters, Sue Jones (Chris), Nancy Colpaert, and Wendy Godfroy (Bill) all of Monroe. He was predeceased by his parents, his beautiful Ann in March of 2020, and his son Jesse.

Jimmy brought a wry sense of humor and wit to this world that will be deeply missed. A combined celebration of life for Jimmy and Ann will be held during the summer of 2021 in Manistee, MI. Donations can be made in Jimmy's honor to Sprout Urban Farms of Battle Creek. Arrangements by the Farley Estes Dowdle Funeral Home & Cremation Care. Personal messages for the family may be placed at