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Ronald T. Zimmerman
(02-04-1931 - 07-07-2020)

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On July 7, 2020, the world lost a twinkling star, a social butterfly, a cherished educator, a master of the Mid-Western ‘Good-Bye’, the Almora Heights tree tapping bandit and soup party host, a renowned handyman, trash picker and prankster, and beloved husband, father and ‘Grumpy Gramps’. Ronald (Ron/Zim) Thurl Zimmerman was born February 4th 1931 and was the only child of Thurl and Mildred Zimmerman.
Ron was raised on the family farm in Orangeville IL, graduated from high-school as valedictorian (from a class of 11) and received a scholarship to attend Northern Illinois Teachers College (NIU) where he graduated with a Masters of Science Education. Ron met Eleanor (Ellie) Constance LaRosa while working in her dorm cafeteria and they both left college with a great group of friends who remained close all their lives. Ron and Ellie were married June 12, 1954 and had seven kids.
As a 6th grade teacher at McKinley school in Elgin for 37 years (over 1000 students and 3 generations taught), Ron is remembered for his great Mr. Science experiments, lectures delivered standing on top of his desk, his humorous insistence that he never made mistakes, and his many years of attending Camp Edwards (even after he retired in 1990). He truly loved teaching and was an inspiration to many students.
Ron was a dedicated family man who thrived on gatherings with family and friends. He was an outdoorsman who enjoyed canoeing, hunting and camping with his kids. He was an avid gardener, canner and winemaker. His close friend Chuck got him hooked into antique car restoration and shows. Ron was never good at sitting down and relaxing. He was always tinkering - fixing something or making some new gadget for home, school or pranks. During his summers he worked various jobs ranging from Fuller Brush salesman, road crew, Mayflower mover, and Ace Hardware clerk to name a few; but he eventually settled on handyman, a vocation which he excelled at and passed his knowledge onto many of his sons (conscripts). Ron was a true renaissance man.
After Ellie passed in 2001, Ron later remarried Joni Manley on March 24, 2008.
Ron is preceded in death by his father Thurl, his mother Mildred, and his wives Ellie and Joni. He is survived by his seven children (with Ellie): daughter Mary (Tom) Kemerling, son Mike (Vicki), daughter Kathy (Sergio) Quintanilla, sons Rich (Gerry), Steve (Julie), John and Ron; ten grandchildren Katie, Amber, Kelly, Ryan, Alex, Ellie, Jay, Elise, Brian, Monica; and four great grandchildren Carley, Morgan, Willow and Kara. Ron is also survived by a step family (with Joni) of two children; Tamara (Thomas) Lewis and Teresa (Anthony) Lee; four grandchildren Madison (Elizabeth) Hackert, Sasha, Josie and Alex; and two great grandchildren Annabel and Lokin.
Services will be private due to Covid-19 with plans to have a celebration of his life with a memorial service at Laird's funeral home after social gathering is permitted.
In lieu of flowers the family wishes that donations be made to YMCA Camp Edwards, East Troy, Wisconsin to help underprivileged children attend camp. Call 262-642-7466 (M-F, 8-4). Ask for Mary or Mike. Laird Funeral Home, Elgin. 847-741-8800 or www.lairdfamilyfuneralservices.com.

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