Donald W. Zimmerman

17 entries
  • "My thoughts and prayers go out to the family, friends and..."
    - Ed Jones
  • "Amy and Brad, my thoughts and prayers with you and your..."
    - Bill Sattler
  • "I wrote this poem in the memory of Grandpa but also in..."
    - Eric Reiser
  • "I met Don at Park Village where he ate his meals next to my..."
    - Sheila Benedum
The Guest Book is expired.

Donald W.
age 87, a lifelong resident and attorney in New Philadelphia, Ohio, died Sunday, April 14th, after a long struggle with Parkinson's Disease.
The eldest son of the late Wilbur L. and Ida Johnson Zimmerman, Don was born Sept. 25, 1925, in a log house located in Schoenbrunn Village, which his family occupied as a benefit of his father's work in the 1920's restoration of Schoenbrunn Village. Don loved the idea that he and President Abraham Lincoln were born in a log cabin.
Don was equally proud of the fact that he learned to fly as a high schooler at New Philadelphia Airfield under the instruction of Harry Clever, along with his longtime friend, Jack Marsh. Both Jack and Don soloed at age 16 and were always available to the airport to lend a hand at shoveling snow or fueling aircraft. Don was the owner of several single engine planes, which he enjoyed flying for friends and family.
Don was a graduate of New Philadelphia High School in 1943. Later, in 2005 Don was the recipient of the Quaker Foundation Alumnist of the Year Award. After graduation, Don went to Ohio Wesleyan University where he graduated in 1949 and then on to Western Reserve University Law School, where he was awarded a Juris Doctorate degree in 1951. Prior to attending Ohio Wesleyan University, Don served in the United States Army Air Corp.
Don's long and respected legal career began in 1951 with the establishment of Fitzpatrick & Zimmerman law firm, which he founded with Francis G. Fitzpatrick. Both Don and Fitz spent their entire legal careers with the firm until retirement. Don was admitted to the District Court for the Northern District of Ohio in 1976, and the United States Supreme Court in 1986. He was President of the Tuscarawas County Bar Association in 1962. Prior to his, and Fitz's retirement, the firm became known as Fitzpatrick, Zimmerman & Rose Co. and included Don's son, Brad Zimmerman, and Frank J. Rose, Jr. At the time of Don's retirement, the firm had grown to include five offices and nearly 30 employees. Don's proudest professional achievement was serving as founding legal counsel to the establishment of the Atwood Regional Water & Sewer District and the Tuscarawas County Metropolitan Sewer District. Both Districts, with Don's advice and counsel, have served the area communities with distinction for more than 40 years.
Don truly loved being a lawyer and having the opportunity to be a counselor and friend to thousands of families and corporations over his 55 years of practice. Even though he officially retired in 2007, he continued to regularly stop in at the office to provide counsel when asked.
As a young man, Don was awarded the VFW Outstanding Citizen of the Year Award and the Jaycee's Distinguished Service Award in 1953. He became active in the New Philadelphia Elk's Club and its bowling league, as well as the New Philadelphia Masonic Lodge Number 177 and Tadmor Temple. Don had been a member of the New Philadelphia Rotary Club since 1952, and was President in 1965 and 1966, and a Rotary Fellow. Don served as Board Member to RTY, which manages Tuscora Park in New Philadelphia. As a devoted Board Member, Don and his wife, Mary, annually sponsored park concerts for the community's enjoyment.
Don greatly enjoyed being involved in high school and college athletics. Starting in 1950, he served as a high school basketball and track official until 1959, and a high school and college football official until 1970. Some of his fondest memories and best laughs were recorded while working football and basketball games with fellow officials. Upon retirement from his officiating duties, Don regularly followed, and attended, all his grandsons' sporting events. Another of Don's greatest pleasures was serving as Co-Founder and longtime Board Member of the Tuscarawas County Rainbow Connection for Children and Adults. He served as Executive Secretary and Board Member of the Greenwalt Trust Fund for Crippled Children since 1953, and the Rotary Hall Memorial Fund for Crippled Children since 1962. Don felt driven to help disadvantaged children and adults in Tuscarawas County. During his time of service, thousands of families received private support to manage medical and health costs.
Don was a past Board Member and Secretary of the Tuscarawas County YMCA Board of Trustees. He served as Board Chairman and Trustee of Union Hospital for more 15 years. In 1997, Don, along with his longtime partner, Francis Fitzpatrick, received the Tuscarawas County Chamber of Commerce Hall of Fame Award for their extraordinary service to the community. In 2000, Don was the recipient of the Tuscarawas County Historical Society's Zeisberger-Heckewelder Humanity-Peace-God-Love Award for his efforts to the history of Zoar Village, Schoenbrunn Village and Tuscarawas County.
Don was a 20 year member and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Kent State University, Tuscarawas Campus. During his time on the Board, he saw the University grow from a small, one-building, night school campus to a thriving, multi-building, full-time campus.
Don was a lifelong member of the First United Methodist Church of New Philadelphia. During his life long membership, he served as Sunday School teacher for more than 30 years, Board of Trustee Member, and valued legal counsel.
Don had a lifelong love of fine automobiles. He restored and owned many classic and award winning Mercedes Benz and Lincoln cars, as well as being involved in many local and national car show activities. Don enjoyed being known as one of the areas "car guys" who from time-to-time served as a consultant to many car restoration projects for friends. He proudly bought each of his 5 grandsons their first automobiles when they attained 16 years of age.
Don was married to Mary Lou Swonger Zimmerman for 56 years at the time of her passing on Oct. 19, 2007. Don leaves behind a family that includes a daughter, Amy, and her husband, Gene Reiser, of New Philadelphia; a son, Brad, and his wife, Zoe Zimmerman, of Dover; and five grandsons, Eric Reiser, and his wife, Sharon Reiser of New Philadelphia; Douglas Reiser, and his wife, Jessica Reiser, of Asheville, N. C.; Andrew Zimmerman, and his wife, Dina Zimmerman, of Alexandria, Va; Timothy Reiser of Cleveland, Ohio; and Mickey Zimmerman, a student at Case Western Reserve Law School in Cleveland, Ohio, and great grandsons, Axel Reiser and Noah Zimmerman.
He is also survived by brother, Gerald Zimmerman, sister, Leonia Smith, brother, Wilbur (Skip) Zimmerman, brother, Richard McCoy, brother, Robert McCoy, brother, Stanley Zimmerman, sister, Debbie Cook and brother, Steven Zimmerman.
In keeping with Don's wishes, cremation will take place under the care of Geib's Tuscarawas Valley Crematory. Visitation will be held in the First United Methodist Church, 201 West High Ave., New Philadelphia on Thursday, April 18 from 4 to 6:30 p.m. The Rev. Dr. Steve Bailey will officiate a memorial service beginning at 6:30. Following the service, friends are invited to the church's Life Center where Don's church family will host a reception.
Don's family would like to express their sincere appreciation to Park Village Assisted Living staff for their compassionate care over the past three years.
Contributions in Don's memory can be made to The Tuscarawas Society for Children & Adults, Inc. - The Rainbow Connection, P.O. Box 288, New Philadelphia, Ohio 44663.
Those wishing to do so may send the family a personal condolence and light a candle in remembrance of Don by visiting the funeral home website at

Published in The Times Reporter from Apr. 16 to Apr. 17, 2013
bullet Elks Lodge bullet Rotary International