Gene Zimmerman, a husband of sixty seven years, the father of five, the grandfather of twelve, the great - grandfather of eight, a brother, an uncle, and a friend to many, died at his home on November 21, 2016. He lived his ninety seven years fully and well.
Gene was born in Baltimore, Maryland on January 19,1919 to Robert Eugene Zimmerman and Ruth Carskaden Zimmerman. He spent his youth living and working on a farm, south of Baltimore. He entered the University of Maryland but was forced to leave after his second semester due to the death of his father in a farm accident. He worked briefly in a steel mill and then moved to South Texas where he went to work for the Texas Oil Company. It was in South Texas that he got his first taste of the oil business, an experience that would change the direction of his life.
His time in South Texas was interrupted by the military draft. He received his notice months before Pearl Harbor. He was one of the Army's original "90 day wonders" who were enlisted men trained to become officers. He was commissioned as an officer in the Army Corps of Engineers. His unit was assigned to the Pacific Theater. Once he embarked on a troop ship in California he would not return home for over three and one half years. He saw service in New Guinea, Biak, and the Philippines. By the end of the war he had been promoted to the rank of Major. Like many in his generation he did not discuss his wartime experiences until he was in his eighties.
Upon his return home Gene rejoined the Texas Oil Company in Houston to work as a land man. The fates were in his favor because shortly thereafter he met, pursued, and on April 17,1948 married Rosalind (Rozzie) Marie Pincoffs. Their partnership of almost seven decades would raise a large and active family. He left the oil business for several years to work with his father-in-law in international trade but he could not get the oil business out of his system and so he left the trading business to work for himself as an independent oil operator. It was a profession he found endlessly interesting for all his days. Even as his health declined he continued to enjoy talking about oil deals and oil plays.
Gene was an avid golfer, a disciplined fitness buff, a reader, and a traveler. He played golf into his nineties. With his infectious optimism he bought a new set of clubs after he turned ninety believing he could still improve his game. He and Rozzie traveled widely. Sometimes they traveled with their close friends or family, but usually they traveled alone delighting in each other's company. He almost never missed his daily workout at the gym garnering the admiration of many for his determination. He always seemed to be working his way through another book, commonly history or biography.
Gene lent his leadership and support to various organizations. At different times he served on the boards of Duchesne Academy of the Sacred Heart, Strake Jesuit College Preparatory, the Houston Country Club, and the Texas Independent Producers & Royalty Owners Association (TIPRO). However, it was Casa de Esperanza de Los Ninos (House of Hope for Children) that held a special place in his heart. At its outset the primary focus of CASA was the care of children infected with AIDS/HIV. When Gene saw the selfless care these children in desperate need received, he was very moved and thereafter became a passionate advocate for the organization, serving on its board for many years and devoting his considerable energy to its mission. CASA's expansion to serve more children needing a safe and nurturing place to live was a source of great pride. In 2015 he and Rozzie were recognized at Casa's annual banquet for their determined efforts in support of the organization.
Gene was predeceased by his parents, his brother Thomas Carskaden Zimmerman, his sister Mary Elizabeth Zimmerman Pincoffs, and his beloved Rozzie. He is survived by his daughters Rosalind Scott Zimmerman of Alexandria, VA and Susan Elizabeth Zimmerman Meyer (and her husband Fred Meyer) of Houston. His sons Louis Seymour Zimmerman (and his wife Rev. Janet Whaley Zimmerman) of Great Barrington, MA, Robert Eugene Zimmerman, Jr. (and his wife Nancy Wheless Zimmerman) of Houston, Charles Thomas Zimmerman (and his wife Greta Haegelin Zimmerman) of Houston. His twelve grandchildren are Dr. Patrick Whaley Zimmerman (and his wife Dr. Katherine Carroll), Thomas Seymour Zimmerman, Frank Robert Zimmerman, Elise Zimmerman Wright (and her husband Patrick), Adelaide Zimmerman Emanuele (and her husband Alex), William Zimmerman, Charles Meyer (and his wife Alison), Elizabeth Meyer, Frank Meyer (and his wife Megan), Robert Eugene Zimmerman III (and his wife Margaret), Katherine Zimmerman, and Nicholas Zimmerman. He is also survived by his much beloved nieces and nephews: Louise Ellingson Johnston of Houston, Andrew Ellingson of Houston, Edmund Peter Pincoffs of Austin, Mary Pincoffs Wilson of Austin, and Posey Pincoffs Bouicourt of Trappe, Md.
Gene's family would like to thank Berta Gonzalez, Jean Sylvester, Dorothy Gantz, Darlene Lane, and Beverly Simon for their care of Gene and for making his last days comfortable at home and to Dr. Holly Holmes for her consistent and kind attention to his needs. At Gene's request his funeral and interment will be for the family. The family would ask that gifts made in his honor be made to Casa de Esperanza, P.O. Box 66581, Houston, Texas 77266-6581 or to Our Lady of Walsingham Catholic Church, 7809 Shadyvilla Lane, Houston, Texas 77055 as we know such gifts would please him greatly.