Richard (Dick) A. Zimmerman, 91 yrs., passed on to eternal life, July 12, in The Villages, FL. Born in Cleveland, OH, graduated from Lakewood High School, studied at Miami University, OH, he was pre-deceased by late wife Pat of 38 yrs., and is survived by his wife, Suzanne Zimmerman of the Villages, three sons and daughters-in-law, 8 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren.
Relationships were of primary importance in Dick’s life— nurturing and enjoying family relationships, church family relationships, and business relationships. Dick spent the bulk of his working career
In South and Central America, Europe, and Japan with Sears, Sears International, and Sears World Trade first in management in FL of hard goods depts., transferring to Chicago as Director of Marketing nationally and then world-wide of Automotive Goods and Services, Large Appliances, and Tools, then as International Management Consultant for the same. He brought many new products to market in these countries, one of them being the first Die-Hard battery in Japan.
Dick’s passion was tennis, first taught by his dad at 7 yrs., then teaching his sons and some grandchildren. He served as President of the Elmhurst Tennis Club and always traveled with his racquet where he played in many countries. Fluent in Spanish and Portuguese, he made many long-time friends especially in South and Central America. After taking early retirement to devote to caring for his wife, he was recruited after her passing by a good friend in Brazil to open an import-export business. But first, having re-married and teamed with his new wife Suzanne, they began a business, Visiting Angels, traveling around Florida on behalf of families to visit their elderly loved ones with flowers or candy. Then for a few years they had a Karaoke business newly popular in bars, so they brought the opportunity to many independent and assisted living facilities, mobile home park parties, large corporate parties, and private home parties.
In addition to businesses he and Suzanne had after his retirement, their last business together was as exporters to Brazil but also traveled there to set up and open stores in Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and Brasilia with ex-associates of Sears International. They helped create the fast popularity of inline skates in Brazil, and eventually opened another store in an airplane hangar in Sao Paulo where there were several half-pipes and young people gathered at the popular store to accessorize and help improve their capabilities.
At age 70, Dick decided to pursue and receive his certification as a tennis instructor at famed Nick Bollettieri’s Tennis Academy and began teaching in Tarpon Springs for the city. As a member of the USPTA, he traveled around FL in many tournaments and at age 84 was ranked 10th in FL on the Senior Circuit when he hung up his racquet after a major surgery. Good competition had brought him to The Villages where he and Suzanne have lived for the last 18 yrs. Senior Games at The Villages was always a highlight for Dick because he was very athletic and loved competition. He won 20 medals, nearly half gold and several silver. Competition in a card or board game after family dinners is a tradition; and at the Zimm Reunion in The Villages, a mini Olympics was the theme of activities for all ages.
Dick was a devout Christian, involved in the life of his home churches wherever he lived. He served as a Stephen Minister at non-denominational Christ Church in Oak Brook, IL; in Tarpon Springs at First UMC, he created and grew a mentoring ministry with local businessmen helping young men to build their business and family life in better directions; at Northwood Presbyterian in Clearwater, he and Suzanne started a Couples Ministry that evolved into a Parenting Ministry; he cooked for Meals on Wheels and participated in the Prison Ministry at North Lake Presbyterian; he served on the Building Committee to help expand opportunities for ministry growth at New Covenant UMC in The Villages. He so enjoyed the Men’s Prayer Breakfast at NCUMC for 17 yrs. that when COVID-19 dragged on, he finally started a neighborhood men’s prayer breakfast with ex-regulars and new members joined since.
Dick built his life focused on nurturing relationships within his large and extended family, within his church families, and throughout his business career. He and Suzanne organized some of the triennial Zimmerman family reunions—their first as newly marrieds for 85 participants and most recent for 66 in The Villages. They enjoyed traveling coast to coast visiting their combined families to celebrate milestones and keep up with new births, marriages, and final resting. As frequent cruisers and lovers of history and land tours, they traveled the Caribbean and Europe, always looking forward to making happy memories to last their lifetimes. Dick was one happy guy, grateful to be born in such a time and place, an ex-Naval Reserves veteran, Villager For Trump, and proud American where he could live out his life in freedom with ideals of peace and harmony he carried with him wherever God chose to take him. One of those places found him as Treasurer and then Chairman of the Board for six of the beginning years of Love In the Name of Christ, a cooperative ministry of 40 churches in The Villages area organized to serve the underserved focused on providing a hand up rather than only a hand-out.
Services are Saturday, July 31 at 12:30 PM. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Love In the Name of Christ, 15797 U.S. 441, Summerfield, FL 34491.