Charles (Chuck) D. Zimmerman, 89, passed away on November 20th, 2021 in Tacoma, Washington. He was born in Chehalis to parents Jean and Ernest, and grew up in Longview, where he developed a passion for climbing. He and his good friend Worth spent many hours climbing Mt. St. Helens and guiding others up “their” mountain.
Chuck attended Oregon State University, joined the ROTC, and served for 2 years in the Army. He returned to OSU to pursue a degree in education and met his future wife, Madelyn (Lyn). They wed hours after graduating and were married for 63 years. Chuck was passionate about education, especially for high-needs students. He earned his Doctorate in Education at the University of Oregon and worked in the Special Education field for many years as a teacher, speech therapist, and leader.
Throughout his life, Chuck modeled service for others. He and Lyn were actively engaged in peace movements, especially the reconciliation community of Corrymeela in Northern Ireland. They volunteered there many times, including a two-year commitment starting just a few months after retiring from teaching. He spent countless hours baking cookies and working for the Kairos Prison Ministry and cooking meals for fellow parishioners and local homeless shelters. He organized blood drives in the Browns Point community and was actively involved in his church and its ministries. Every year for many years, Chuck organized teams to participate in and raise money for the Relay for Life at Stadium High School.
Almost all who knew Chuck will remember him for his love of music and for sharing that music in every part of his life. He led daily singing at Meadowood Springs Speech Camp, which he helped found with friends. He led the music at local churches’ Sunday services. Chuck played the banjo at Cursillo retreats, at Kairos retreats in prisons, at nursing homes, and in friends’ homes, always intentionally helping others to sing along. He and Lyn always had bags and bags (and bags) of carefully assembled songbooks in their car and their home, ready to sing at any time! Just Love Singing (JLS) was the name of the group they played and sang with often, and it defines such a large part of Chuck’s life.
Chuck is preceded in death by parents Jean and Ernest and brother Jack, and by his daughter, Jennifer. He is survived by his wife, Lyn, and has two surviving children, Liz (Norbert) and David (Barb). He is survived by grandchildren Isaac, Kristin, Kayleen, Elle, and Matthew as well as 7 great-grandchildren. He inspired his grandchildren to pursue their dreams, taught them to have a deep love of music, and he is a driving force for their love of family and strong connection to one another.
A celebration of his life, including some of his favorite songs, will be at 2:00 PM on Sunday, Dec. 19th at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Tacoma. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to Smile Train or The Alzheimer’s Association.
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