James W. Zimmerman Sr., of Dowagiac

Aug. 24, 1948 — May 30, 2020

James William Zimmerman Sr., 71, of Dowagiac, died peacefully early Saturday morning, May 30, 2020, in the comfort of his family’s presence.

He was born Aug. 24, 1948 in Elkhart, to Richard and Rosemary (Cox) Zimmerman Sr.

Jim was lovingly raised by his step-mother, Mary Jo Zimmerman.

He married Judy D. Magner April 8, 1972, in Elkhart. She called him her “Turtle Dove.” Judy remembers him as a wonderful husband, father and grandfather who always stood by his family.

Jim was a proud patriot and loved his country. His top three priorities were God, country and family. He honorably served in the U.S. Army during Vietnam.

As a father, Jim taught his children much about life and family. They always knew that they should put their full effort into anything they did. He used to tell them, “You can do anything, you’re a Zimmerman.” It is the philosophy and mantra that his children and grandchildren continue to live by.

Jim was an avid camper and fisherman and enjoyed anything he could do with his family. He had a quick wit and was full of jokes and stories. Jim’s favorite story was how he stole his best friend’s girl and married her. 

James will be greatly missed by family and friends. He is survived by his wife of 48 years, Judy Zimmerman, of Dowagiac; two sons, James W. (Teresa) Zimmerman II, of Grand Rapids, Gary (Tiara) Zimmerman, of Dowagiac; five wonderful grandchildren, Caleb Zimmerman, Lance Corporal Jadelyn Zimmerman USMC, Shawn Zimmerman, Annalise Zimmerman, Bryce Zimmerman; two sisters, Linda (Tom) Istenes, Christine Reynolds, both of Elkhart; two brothers, Richard (Diane) Zimmerman Jr., of Marion, Indiana, Steven (Debbie) Zimmerman, of Elkhart; several nieces and nephews; and his dog, Dicki Joe.

He was preceded in death by his parents; one daughter, Dawn Marie Zimmerman; and his faithful dog, Sir Lancelot. 

The family will observe a private remembrance when he will be accorded full Military Honors. Mr. Zimmerman’s remains will be laid to rest in South Wayne Cemetery in Dowagiac.

The family prefers contributions in memory of James be made to Disabled American Veterans, VARO McNamara Federal Building, 477 Michigan Ave., Room 1200, Detroit, MI 48226.

Arrangements have been entrusted to Connelly Chapel Wagner Family Funerals, Cassopolis. Please share a memory or a message online: wagnercares.com.

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