Dr. Nathan Zimmerman
1927 - 2020
BORN
1927
DIED
2020
Dr. Nathan Zimmerman

Louisville - Dr. Nathan Zimmerman, 93, affectionately known as "Doc" to his many patients, friends, and family, passed peacefully at home in the early morning hours of October 1st of complications arising from COVID-19.

The son of two Eastern European Jewish immigrants, Sol and Pauline Zimmerman, Doc was born in Brooklyn, New York on May 25, 1927. The family and their three children (Nathan and his siblings Robert and Eleanor) soon relocated to nearby New Brunswick, New Jersey, a town known for its rich history in healthcare, where Doc spent his formative and teenage years. He served with distinction in the US Navy during World War II in the Philippines before attending University of Louisville Medical School, graduating in 1952 at the youthful age of 25. Soon after, Doc began his practice, Valley Medical Associates, in Louisville's south end, practicing family medicine in the area for the next 57 years. During his career, Doc became a beloved staple of the community and treated generations of patients whom eventually came to know him not simply as an expert in medicine, but as a friend and as family. Doc cherished these relationships all of his days and regularly spoke fondly of his patients and their families in his retirement.

Doc married the first love of his life, Bobette (née Abroms) in Louisville, KY on December 27, 1949, together raising a family of four sons: Michael, Lee, Howard, and Eddie. Following the loss of Bobette to illness in 1989, lighting struck again for Doc in 1990 upon his introduction to the second love of his life, Ann Benjamin Levine (or as he fondly called her "Annie B"). They met upon the insistence of multiple friends, believing that Ann and Doc would prove to be a perfect match. They were. After one date, Doc had declared himself struck by the "thunderbolt" and they were subsequently married on April 13, 1991. Together with Ann's four children: Vycki, David, Benji, and Larry, the family ballooned in size to twenty grandchildren and four great-grandchildren, keeping Doc simultaneously smiling and on his toes.

In his life's work, Doc was the classic "family doctor"; known and revered for his gentle, yet frank, bedside manner, his commitment to his patients and colleagues, his reliability, and his diligence. Over his 57 years in practice, he grew with his patients through their every stage of life; delivering babies, performing procedures today reserved for specialists, becoming a part of families through sickness and health, graduations, weddings, and funerals, and growing old with many of his original patients and their families. Through his embrace of innovation, he grew Valley Medical Associates to the largest family practice in Kentucky, becoming the first medical facility in Louisville to house an early IBM computer, expanding to include on-site laboratory testing for rapid diagnosis, and being among the first to have hospitals purpose-built to handle the needs of patients. Providing innovative care and cutting edge technology was not enough for Doc; his personal commitment to each and every patient under his care was also demonstrated by personally making hospital rounds every morning, whether it be Christmas, Thanksgiving, or New Years. His children fondly remember the routine of hearing late night phone calls from their beds, with Doc racing out of the door in the middle of the night to deliver a baby or provide emergency care. The next morning at the breakfast table he would still be in his scrubs, spending a bit of time with his family before heading back to work; a testament to the love he had for his family, his profession, and his patients.

Doc was an avid supporter of the University of Louisville both in their academic and athletic missions. In college, he was a catcher for UofL's baseball team and played for the NY Yankees farm team before committing his efforts to his medical education. His love of UofL basketball was absolute, becoming close friends with the coaching staff and players—many of whom he eventually came to know as patients. Doc was a mainstay on the Standard Country Club Golf Course, and as many can attest, was adept at making up for any lack of skill with his imagination and when necessary, a sharp pencil.

Despite his short stature, Doc was a giant of personality and congeniality; his trademark mix of quick wit, lived wisdom, wry sarcasm, sharp intellect, and authentic, non-judgmental appreciation for others filled any room with his singular brand of charm and charisma, welcoming all into his circle of friends and family.

Doc is preceded in death by his first love, Bobette Abroms Zimmerman, his youngest son Edward A. Zimmerman (Dorrie), and granddaughter Minna Eva Goldenberg. He is survived by his wife and second love Ann Benjamin Zimmerman; his sons, Dr. Michael Zimmerman (Evie Oman), Lee Zimmerman (Sherrill), and Howard Zimmerman (Pat); his daughter-in-law, Dorrie Zimmerman (Justin Horn); Ann's children, Vycki Goldenberg-Minstein (Anthony Minstein), David Levine (Danatta), Benji Levine (Deborah Cohen), and Larry Levine (Heather Hunt); his twenty grandchildren, Michelle Armour (Stuart), Jason, Joel (Allison), Rye (Allison), Cory, Wren, and Nathan Zimmerman, Blake (Amy), Austin (Kara), Simon, Hazel, Anna, Harris, Bella, and Greta Levine, Marc (Hailey), and Jon Goldenberg, Solange and Harris Minstein; four great-grandchildren, Lily Armour, Edward G. Zimmerman, and Tenley and Zachary Levine; his wonderful caregivers whose dedication, care, and friendship to Doc over the years proved both heroic and light-bringing; countless friends; numerous colleagues; and a community consisting of generations of patients whom relied upon and entrusted Doc with medical care for them and their families.

Few people are lucky enough to live a life as full and as rich as Doc's. He leaves behind a monumental legacy as a healer, friend, husband, father, grandfather, patriarch, and community pillar. He will be dearly missed, but remembered in much warmth, happiness, and humor by the great many of those whose lives he touched.

A celebration of life will be announced at a future time once we are able to safely gather.



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Published by Courier-Journal from Oct. 3 to Oct. 4, 2020.
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21 Entries
We just learned of Doc's passing and are saddened to hear this. Especially that he succumbed to complications from COVID-19. We always knew it would take something beyond extraordinary to beat Doc. He was a tough guy with such a caring nature and was our doctor for many years until we moved away from Valley Station 30 years ago. Prayers for him and all of his family. We remember him fondly.
Jim & Susie Jupin
March 10, 2021
My first encounter with Doctor Z was when he delivered me Sept 25 1957. I have many memories of receiving his care over the next 20 years. I am saddened at his passing but will forever cherish his candor and care he gave me.
Greg Scott
January 30, 2021
Our family thanks you for your unrelenting and tireless commitment and compassion!!! You are truly missed and will never be replaced!
Dennis Clark
January 18, 2021
Ann and family: You were both lucky and deserving to have Nathan in your lives. He was truly great! We mourn your loss. And we remain fans of yours. Hang in there. The vaccines are coming and life can get better! Love, Neil
Neil Jacobstein (in NZ until vaccinated)
January 2, 2021
After just moving to Valley Station, Dr. Zimmerman diagnosed me after my seeing 3 other doctors. (gallstones). He knew I was scared because my Mother had died after having surgery for gallstones. He came in early in the morning after I had the surgery. He patted me, and said, " you will be OK. Just take deep breathes and cough." When they came in later to get me to cough, after listening to my chest they said, "she has already been coughing." I am 82 years old & he is one of the best doctors I have ever been to. His wife Bobbi was always helpful when the doctor was not available. Patient never acted put out because I had called. Thank you Dr. Zimmerman for taking care of me and my Family. You are missed.
Joyce McCracken
Friend
October 12, 2020
We are so sorry to just hear that Nat recently passed away. Our belated condolences to his family and friends. I loved him sharing his wit and wisdom with me. I treasure those memories and also those of his loyal support of U of L sports. I will miss Nat.
Bill Olsen
Bill Olsen
Friend
October 8, 2020
Doc Z brought me into this world, and TRULY kept me alive through my childhood, with his gifted medical know how. thru many weekly visits, he drew my blood, not a nurse, and he administered the shots, His face would be the first I saw in my hospital room in the morning , and the last I saw before going off to sleep at night~ He once told me it was
"... time to change jobs, you're no spring chicken anymore"
when I asked If I'm no spring chicken what's that make you ?
he looked out the corner of his eye with that squint, and said
" OLDER THAN DIRT "
A Gifted Doctor, and so much more , He cared for My parents, as well as my Children- You will forever be the same in my minds eye and my heart. Love ya Doc

Robin Moore
Friend
October 8, 2020
He was the best doctor and friend.My husband saw him first.Then when we married I became a patient.I still remember the day he told me I was expecting our 5th child.He scooted his chair close to me and said I'm not sure how Caporale will take this but number five is on the way.Then he hugged me and I told him...He would think it's great.He and my husband spent many visits talking U OF L basketball.He will truly be missed in this world.Condolences to all his family
Royann Caporale
Friend
October 7, 2020
he was the greatest doctor that ever was.he was loved so much
fk shepherd
Acquaintance
October 7, 2020
My sincere condolences to the Family. Dr. Z, as my husband and I fondly called him was exactly as described in his Legacy of Life.The day he retired was such a sad yet happy day for us, his former patients. Sad because he would no longer be able to guide us through health struggles but happy that he would be able to enjoy other things his life had to offer!
Shalom dear friend!
Theresa Roller
Friend
October 7, 2020
RIP Dr. Z I learned a lot working for you at Valley Medical for so many years. You were a great doctor and man. Prayers for the family.
Lisa Decker
Coworker
October 6, 2020
My condolences to the whole family . Dr Zimmerman was my doctor when I was a teenager . A great doctor who treated my whole family . He will truly be missed by all who knew him.
Kathy Candell
Acquaintance
October 5, 2020
As a young respiratory therapist at SW hospital, I was honored to work with Dr Zimmerman and his group. My years of growing in my field were in big part due to the expertise, true patient care, and giving it our all, that we learned from our physicians at SW. It was a family atmosphere and a true honor to be able to work with Doc. I witnessed him leading not just his group but the staff at the hospital too. Thanks to the Zimmerman family for sharing him with us.
Sandy Brown Petter RRT

Sandy Brown Petter
Friend
October 5, 2020
I will always remember Doc my mother Mary L Sabetti worked alongside Doc for many years at Valley Medical R.I.P Doc
Lori Kelly
Friend
October 4, 2020
Doc, was one of my family doctors since 1972 at Valley Medical on Valley Station Road. He was an amazing doctor. Prayers for him and his family.
Pam Craig Abbott
October 4, 2020
Sorry to hear about Dr. Zimmerman’s passing. He became our family’s (my parents and I) doctor about 1954 and then I later worked for him along with Drs. Murphy, King & Beanblossom 1981-82 at the Valley Medical Clinic.
Judy (Woodcock) Mullins
Coworker
October 4, 2020
I am very saddened to hear of Doc's passing. He was a great man and tutor to me in the game of craps ;) I enjoyed the time that we spent together and he will be missed. My heartfelt condolences to Ann and the family.
Wyman Marshall
Friend
October 4, 2020
You will be greatly missed and affectionly remembered as one of the finest physician and friend anyone could have. Rest high on that mountain.
Margi Bruce
Friend
October 4, 2020
Dr. Zimmerman (and his Valley Medical associates) treated all of my family for years. He never left any doubt about how you were to continue your treatment at home....and what you weren't supposed to do. We moved out of state and had been gone about 7 or 8 years when I got a very bad case of poison ivy on both arms while home on vacation. I went to a local immediate care center and after a few days decided their treatment was not helping. Dr. Zimmerman worked me into his schedule and fixed me up with a Rx and an additional OTC soaking agent that had me healing up in just a few days. My vacation was saved. He was one of a kind.
Sharon Pryor Plummer
Acquaintance
October 4, 2020
So sorry to hear this. I worked for Dr Z for several years at the Valley Medical Clinic with Drs King and Beanblossom. He was funny and compassionate. Prayers for the family.
Kathy Porter
October 4, 2020
Dr
Was awesome man he took care of my dad and been a close friend to are family.
Scott Sullivan
Friend
October 4, 2020