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Dr. Thomas A. Zimmerman

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Dr.  Thomas A. Zimmerman Obituary
Dr. Thomas A. Zimmerman

Rancho Palos Verdes

January 9, 1942 - February 14, 2018

Our Dad was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, to Conrad and Marcella (Dietrich) Zimmerman. His father was a firefighter and his mother was a homemaker who doted on their only child. Dad excelled at his Catholic elementary school, so much so that the nuns informed his Depression-era parents, who themselves were never able to receive more than an 8th grade education, that their son should not go to the local high school, but to the college preparatory St. Xavier High School in downtown Cincinnati. It required much sacrifice from his parents and a long bus commute for our Dad, but getting on the college track surely changed the course of his life. He graduated from St. X in 1960. He then received his Bachelor's Degree in Engineering from the University of Cincinnati in 1965 while participating in a cooperative program with RCA in New Jersey, where he worked on television technology and received his first patent while still an undergraduate student. He continued his education at Purdue University, where he received his Master's Degree in Bioelectronics in 1967 and his double Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering and Physics in 1971. He was hired that same year by TRW (later Northrup-Grumman) in Manhattan Beach, where he worked for the next 33 years. His career included work in Defense, Super-Chip and Automotive Technology. During his career he also taught as an adjunct professor at UCLA and USC. He holds multiple patents, was the author of over 60 technical papers, was a member of Tau Beta Pi and Eta Kappa Nu Honorary Engineering Societies, and was a Certified Professional Engineer. He was honored as a University of Cincinnati Distinguished Alumnus in 1999.

Despite all of these accomplishments, our Dad was most proud of his family. When he was still an undergraduate, he met the love of his life, Paula (Andrich), who was a nursing student at the College of Mount St. Joseph in Cincinnati. They were married following her college graduation in August of 1967. Their first daughter, Connie, was born at Purdue in 1968, and their second daughter, Monica, was born in 1971 shortly after they moved to Rancho Palos Verdes and Dad started work at TRW. Our Dad was just the most unconditionally loving and supportive father; he got involved in everything in which his daughters were involved. He attended every cheerleading and dance competition; he participated in prom dress and wedding dress shopping; and while his daughters were away at college and graduate school, he wrote to them every day. He loved and supported his six grandchildren just as intensely.

One of the best things our Dad ever did for us was love our mother. Tom and Paula were best friends and constant companions. They enjoyed hiking, camping, ballroom dancing, and world traveling together. They supported each other always. Dad assisted with Mom's sewing and knitting, and Mom assisted with Dad's woodworking and photography. They loved and laughed together every day.

Tom Zimmerman was an accomplished engineer, a beautiful woodworker, and a published photographer. He was a family man, a gentleman and a scholar. He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Paula; his daughter and son-in-law, Connie and Kevin Simonsen of San Diego and their daughters, Samantha and Ava; and his daughter and son-in-law, Monica and Scott Eastridge, of Corona and their children, India, Gracie, Madeline and Drew. Private services have already been held and he has been interred at Green Hills Mortuary. Donations may be made in his name to the South Coast Botanic Garden or the . Please sign the guest book at www.dailybreeze.com/obits.
Published in Daily Breeze on Apr. 8, 2018
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