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John Renkin Zimmerman
May 29, 1928 -
May 20, 2013
John Renkin Zimmerman of San Antonio Texas died on Monday, May 20, at the age of 84. He was the beloved husband of Billie Zimmerman, with whom he shared 57 years of marriage. He was also the father of John Louie Zimmerman of San Antonio, TX; William Cyrus Zimmerman of Southlake, TX; Donald Shelly Zimmerman of Austin, TX; and Andrew Reagan Zimmerman of Honolulu, HI. He was grandfather to 6 grandchildren: Christian, Matthew, Andrew, David, Marina, and John Andre Zimmerman. He is survived by his sisters Jean Zimmerman Kilmer of Mclean, VA, and Lena Zimmerman Wallin of Cournelius, NC, and his brother Louie Albert Zimmerman of Marshall, NC. His parents, Ludwig Albert and Emma Juanita Zimmerman, and grandson Christian, preceded him in death.
Born and raised in Madison County, NC, John graduated from North Carolina State University before enlisting in the Air Force where he was trained as a jet fighter pilot. Near the end of his service, John was stationed in San Antonio where he met and married Billie Avey Zimmerman in 1956. He began his career as a Junior high school math and science teacher, but shortly thereafter established a successful business in home building and property development and management.
He is remembered for his passion for aviation and politics. He acquired and flew several V-tail Bonanza airplanes from the 1960s until shortly before his death. He ran for mayor of San Antonio in 1968. In 1976-78, he was involved in a highly publicized dispute with the IRS that centered on Constitutional principles, a case which culminated in tax refunds to the Zimmerman's account. In later decades, he was known as "WOAI John" for his weekly talk radio contributions, sometimes announced with Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries.
His life accomplishments best exemplified courage, resolution, frugality, temperance, and industry.
Memorial services will be held on Saturday, May 25 at 10:30 AM, at the Baptist Temple (901 E. Drexel, San Antonio, TX, 78210), with a graveside service at noon at South Mission Burial Park. Arrangements for the funeral are being handled by Ortiz Mortuary (3114 Culebra, S.A., TX, 78228). Flowers in memoriam may be delivered to the Ortiz Mortuary.
San Antonio, TX 78228
Published in Express-News on May 24, 2013