Obituary of Donald Drew Zimmerman
"The Professor", Donald Drew Zimmerman, passed away peacefully at home on February 15, 2019 surrounded by his loving family. He was 87, born December 30, 1931 in Hornell, NY to Earl and Mary Zimmerman. He was the youngest of 4 brothers; Robert, Merle and Stanley. He attended Riverside High school in NY, graduated 1949.
Donald held a BS in Education & History and MS in Administration & Social studies from Buffalo state. During college and for 16 yrs. he was a dedicated officer in the Navy Reserve. He met the love of his life, Cleo in 1955 at Buffalo state University while performing with his band "Donald and the Smooth Tones." They married in June 29th, 1957 and went on to be blessed for 63 years of marriage. He was proud of his first teaching position in Amherst NY, teaching 4th grade elementary and social studies classes. He enjoyed working alongside his wife in 1957 at a summer camp for under-privileged disabled children at Cradle Beach, NY.
Donald was a dedicated and passionate educator who felt learning is life long and went on to get hisDoctorate in Education from Temple University, Philadelphia in May 1969. He was a professor of Elementary Education for 31 years, with deep satisfaction in helping students become educators most notably working the Teacher Corps project supporting new teachers to Camden. He concluded his careerhelping to develop the alternate, degree "masters to teaching program" for the state of NJ.
Donald's other passion and talent was music! Playing his horn was a talent that developed all of his lifestarting at age 5 when his father handed him his trumpet to play along with his brothers. Donald entertained many here and abroad with his band standards and impressive improv Jazz. He enjoyedplaying for so many great bands, the VFW locally and with Michael Carney Orchestra, Manhattan. A wonderful memory was performing at a wedding event at a castle in Ireland, playing Bette Midler's Halloween Balls in NYC, The National Horse show, and Dec 1985 for President Ronald and Nancy Regan for the White House annual Christmas party.
Since the late 60s Don and Cleo have enjoyed their friend and family time at their home on Lake Wallenpaupack, PA. They enjoyed many bonfires, deck parties, boating, sailing, waterskiing, grandkids visiting for weeks at a time and beautiful sunsets to share their love. Seasonally he owned "Prof's Antiques" specializing in fine antique furniture & stained glass windows. He was a member of the Wayne, Pike, and Sullivan Antique Dealers assoc. A member of the First Presbyterian Church in Pitman for over 50 years, sharing his love and faith of God, of music, singing in the choir, playing his horn, serving as a Deacon, Elder, and a board member for the Week Day Preschool while also sharing many hours working the community food pantry with his wife.
The Lord called Don suddenly yet allowed his loving family to gather and share a week of blessings with music, friends and a loving family by his side. Donald is survived by his wife Cleo (nee Beeman), daughters Laura DeMarco, Beth (James) Martin and Lisa (Thomas) Fisher. He adored his sevengrandchildren; Shawn and Tyler Demarco; Drew, Colin and Whitney (Josh Gooch) Martin, Alan and Julia Fisher.
A service celebrating his life will be March 9th, 2019 at 11 am at the First Presbyterian Church, Pitman NJ 08071 Instead of flowers, please consider donating in Don's memory to the First Presbyterian Church Building fund.
125 Pitman Avenue
Pitman, NJ 08071
Phone: (856) 589-6308