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George Zimmerman

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Retired District Judge George L. Zimmerman, 89, died peacefully in Las Cruces on Friday, April 3, 2009, with his wife, Reneé, at his side.
Judge George L. Zimmerman was born on April 17, 1919, in Waynesburg, Pa., to George and Margaret Rebecca Zimmerman. After meeting in Tokyo, Japan, George and Reneé L. Sayers were married on Dec. 7, 1946, in Pittsburgh. Judge Zimmerman attended Temple University and graduated from Waynesburg College in 1947.
He obtained a Juris Doctor degree from the very first class of The School of Law at the University of New Mexico in 1950, and was admitted to the State Bar of New Mexico on Aug. 17, 1950. He practiced law in Carrizozo (1950-1953), Ruidoso (1953-1956) and Alamogordo (1956-1963 and 1967-1972). His major areas of practice were personal injury, water and mining, real estate and insurance.
Judicial positions held by Judge Zimmerman were district court judge, 3rd Judicial District (1963-1966); district court judge, presiding 12th Judicial District (1973-1984) and judge pro-tem. His judicial specialties were trial, criminal and civil, jury and non-jury. He also served in Alternative Dispute Resolution as a mediator and arbitrator (1990-1992), with areas of expertise in personal injury, construction and real estate. Often, Judge Zimmerman was cited for closing more cases per year (2,000+) than any other district judge in the state.
In his youth, Judge Zimmerman worked as an engineer for the Ford Motor Company, helping to build the Willow Run Plant. In Puerto Rico, he worked as a field engineer in constructing Roosevelt Roads Base. Next, he returned to Pittsburgh to work for Des Moines Steel, creating floating dry docks.
Judge Zimmerman served as a commissioned officer in the 8th Engineer Battalion of the 1st Cavalry Division in Tokyo, Japan (1944-1946). After returning to civilian life, Judge Zimmerman and his wife, Reneé, moved to North Dakota where he helped to build Garrison Dam.
Judge Zimmerman was an honorary member of Rotary for 25 years, served as district governor for Sertoma in 1958 and was a lifelong Democrat. He spent over 20 years singing with local barbershop groups and was a founding member of the Sounds of Enchantment. In 1991, he received recognition for 41 years of dedication to the legal profession from the Otero County Bar Association. He ran for 30 years and was frequently seen jogging around the park on Washington Avenue in Alamogordo. His participation in the Governor's Council on Physical Fitness events earned him many awards, to include the O mile champion in the 1984 New Mexico Senior Olympics. Judge Zimmerman was an avid golfer at Desert Lakes Golf Course in Alamogordo and enjoyed many an early morning round of golf with close friends.
Judge Zimmerman is survived by his wife of 62 years, Reneé. His three daughters are Annette Stewart and her husband, Tom, of Alto; Charlotte Zimmerman, of Cloudcroft; and Rebecca Robles and her husband, Frank, of Colorado Springs, Colo. His three grandchildren are Dr. Laura Stewart and her husband, Dr. Russell Carson, of Baton Rouge, La.; Mark Stewart, of Tempe, Ariz.; and Celia Alcantar, of El Paso. Several nieces, nephews and their families in California and Georgia survive him. He was predeceased by his brother, James; his sister, Alma; and a grandson, Thomas George Stewart.
Memorial services will be conducted at 2 p.m. Saturday, April 18, 2009, at the Alamogordo Funeral Home Chapel with Father Frank Wilson officiating.
The Zimmerman family has entrusted their loved one to the care of Alamogordo Funeral Home to direct the arrangements. Cremation will take place locally at PCS.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to The School of Law at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque.

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Published in Alamogordo Daily News from Apr. 4 to Apr. 13, 2009
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