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July 6, 1940 - April 15, 2015

David Leo Zimmer was born July 6, 1940, in Spring Valley, MN, to Raymond and Gladys (Schmidt) Zimmer.  He grew up on the Zimmer family farm outside Wykoff, MN, one of six generations of Zimmers to grow up there. On May 3, 1963, Dave married Gerry Alderman, Preston, MN and they made their home in Mabel, MN. Dave graduated from Wykoff High School in 1958, attended Rochester Community College and Mankato State University and graduated with a BA in teaching.  While working on his Master’s Degree at Mankato State University, he did some graduate work at Columbia University in New York City and lived with his sister LaVerna (Zimmer) and brother-in-law Ron Loken.   

Dave was a teacher at Mabel-Canton High School throughout his 34-year career and taught out of the same classroom the entire time.  He retired in 1997 and started his second career as a travel guide for Legacy Tours in Decorah, IA until his retirement in 2013.  Over the years Dave had a variety of additional jobs including senior class advisor, football and basketball coach, driver’s education instructor and ambulance EMT. Throughout his life, Dave was enthused and energized by working with people, especially students. He established annual educational tours in 19 area school districts in southeast MN, northeast IA, and western WI.  He also operated as an independent tour guide for Zimmer Tours with his wife, Gerry, as the co-owner and bookkeeper for many years. Dave personally led class trips for approximately 10,000 students and 2,300 adults.  He enjoyed pulling back the layers of history and sharing his passion for learning with others. 

Dave had a zest for living; he loved his family, his friends, and sharing stories.  He had a phenomenal memory for telling jokes.  Dave was especially interested in the Civil War and was a re-enactor for many years with the 1st Minnesota Volunteer Infantry out of Fort Snelling, St. Paul, MN. His hobbies included John Deere tractors, traveling, reading, fishing, bonfires in his yard, and visiting family and friends. 

Dave, age 74, passed away April 15, 2015 (150 years to the day after Abraham Lincoln) at his home in Mabel after winning many battles but ultimately losing the war with Acute Myeloid Leukemia.  He is survived by his three children: daughter Nikki of Forest Lake, MN; son Kyle, daughter-in-law Stacy, and granddaughters Savannah and Emma of Maplewood, MN; son Ryan and his significant other Angie Gillard, and grandson Luke of Rochester, MN; nephew Mike (Deb) Zimmer of Spring Valley, MN, nephew John (Margie) Loken, Pasadena, CA, niece Marianne (Ryan) Turner, Manhattan Beach, CA; brother-in-law Ron Loken of Palm Desert, CA; significant other and best friend Kathie Vongroven of La Crosse, WI; brother Ed Zimmer; several cousins, nieces and nephews; several great-nieces and great-nephews; and many friends.  He was preceded in death by his wife of 47 years Gerry; sister LaVerna(Zimmer) Loken; and parents Gladys (Schmidt) and Raymond Zimmer. 

Visitation will be from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm Friday, April 17 at Mabel First Lutheran Church, Mabel, MN.  The funeral service will be at 2:00 pm Saturday, April 18 at Mabel First Lutheran Church, Rev. Elliott Malm officiating.  Memorials are requested to the American Cancer Society for cancer research.

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