Nelson Eugene “Gene” Zimmer 77, of Trilla, IL, formerly Windsor, IL, passed away at 3:29 PM Monday Mar, 14, 2011 in his home.
Gene was born Dec. 26, 1933 at Neoga, IL the son of Nelson Ernest and Mildred Miley Crockett Zimmer.
Gene was president of the 1952 graduating class of Windsor (IL) High School.He received a bachelor’s degree in education from Eastern Illinois University at Charleston in 1956, IL with special emphasis in industrial arts, social science, and zoology and was President of Kappa Sigma Fraternity.He received a master’s degree from Eastern Michigan University at Ypsilanti, MI in 1971.He then received additional two years education in school administration at Fort Hays State University in Hays, KS.
He was a teacher, coach, principal and school superintendent for 38 years.He taught at Western High School in Jackson, MI from 1958-1964, Jefferson High School in Monroe, MI from 1964-73 and Hanston High School in Hanston, MI from 1973-1996. “Coach Zim” coached mostly basketball, but also baseball, football and was a baseball and softball umpire.He won numerous state championships and was highly respected by fellow coaches, players and his community and was the coach of many championship high school and community college teams.In addition, he was an independent contractor engaged in house construction when he was not teaching or coaching.He loved fishing, gardening and was an avid sports fan.
Gene served his country by serving in the United States Army (stateside 1956-58) following the Korean War.He was a member of the Strasburg American Legion Post.
He was a leader and mentor, both on and off of the playing field.
He retired in 1996 and enjoyed the outdoor life with Alice.He continued attending sporting events around Mattoon and Charleston cheering for family and friends.
Surviving are his wife Alice (Manion Keenen) Zimmer(Childhood friend whom he met when they were children and met again in and then married inMay 2009 after moving back to Mattoon, IL in 2004 ); children: Susan(Michael) Zimmer-Thompson of Bellingham, WA , Melanie (Tony) Zimmer-Gembeck of Gold Coast, Australia andBetsy Dee(Pete) LeeLoy of Keaau, Hawaii; step children: Kathy (Jing) Jing-Chuan of Rantoul, IL, Steve Keenen of Philo, IL and Donna(Roger) Williams of Byhalia, MS; grandchildren: Cassandra Thompson and Corwin(Missy) Thompson; greatgrandchildren, Desmond Thompson and Damon Tomblin; step-grandchildren: Annie (Kevin) Tomblin, Aliceson Treach, Billy Williams, Nicole Keenen, Lucas Keenen and Shi-Wejie step great grandchild Damon Tomblin; brother David( Dorothy) Zimmer of Athens, GA; sister Marie ( Robert) Sinkler of Windsor IL; many nieces, nephews and cousins..
He was preceded in death by his parents.
A funeral service will be held at 10:00 AM Friday Mar. 18, 2011 in Lovins-Lockart Funeral Home in Windsor, IL. Pastor Richard Coen will officiate. Visitation will be from 6:00-8:00 PM Thursday at the funeral home.Burial will be in Upper Ash Grove Cemetery near Windsor, IL.Military rites will be performed by the Strasburg American Legion .Memorials can be made to the “Coach Gene Zimmer Scholarship Fund” c/o of the Shelby County State Bank of Windsor, 1009 Maine Street, Windsor, IL 61957.On line condolences may be made to the Family at www.lockartgreenfuneralhome.com