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John Zimmerman, 1934 - 2021


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John Lester Zimmerman lived a full and joyous 87 years. He died in Chesterfield, MO on January 19, 2021. He was born in Hamilton Ontario, Canada in 1933. He grew up in Cincinnati, OH where exploring the forests and hills of the Ohio river valley he developed his love of natural history, especially the study of birds.image.png

In addition to his love of birds, he enjoyed all forms of music, especially chorale music, he sang in many choirs. He was an avid reader and author. He received his undergraduate and masters degrees in Zoology from Michigan State University, his doctorate degree in Ornithology, from the University of Illinois. He married his wife of 62 years, Janice Mae Gray, on July 23, 1955.

He joined the Division of Biology at Kansas State University in the fall of 1963. He pioneered E-learning as the “voice on the tape recorder” for the Principles of Biology course. In addition to teaching Biology and Ornithology, research and publication in grassland bird ecology, he was instrumental in the development of the Friends of Konza Prairie education program.

Zimmerman was the first coordinator of the Kansas Breeding Survey when it was initiated in 1967 and he continued as coordinator until he retired 35 years later. Together with Willliam Busby, he initiated the Kansas Breeding Bird Atlas in 1992.

After 35 years at Kansas State, he and Janice retired to Charlottesville, Virginia. In retirement he was active in the Monticello Bird Club and the Ivy Creek Nature Center. In recent years he has lived at Friendship Village in Chesterfield, MO. In Chesterfield, he served as a docent for the local butterfly sanctuary helping others appreciate the natural world.

John is preceded in death by his parents Lester Batdorf and Mary Wilda Zimmerman, his infant daughter Gretchen, his sister Grace Engelhardt and his wife Janice Zimmerman. John is survived by his sister Mary Alexander, his sons Stephan (Karla), Paul (Karen), David (Cheri), nine grandchildren and three great children. John was a loving, positive and pragmatic role model to all. He will be fondly remembered.

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