John Wallace Zimmerman
April 25, 1929 — March 11, 2015

John Wallace Zimmerman, age 85, peacefully went to heaven this Wednesday morning, March 11, 2015.

He had many enjoyable years with his wife, family and friends and ultimately succumbed to congestive heart failure. “Zim” was born April 25, 1929, and grew up in Waukesha. He attended Carroll College, obtained his undergraduate degree at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and his MBA at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. John lettered in swimming in college, which began a lifelong interest in the sporting teams he followed and the golf he played.

John and Charlotte met on a blind date at the University of Tennessee. After marrying, they lived in Springfield, Ill., Minneapolis, Minn., Princeton, N.J., retiring between Bovey, Minn., and Amelia Island, Fla. Throughout his life, he was a role model for his sons and a mentor to many of his business acquaintances and personal friends. His values and beliefs influenced everyone who got to know him, and he exerted a strong, positive influence over many of his son’s friends. He took an active mentorship role with Take Stock in Children and helped one young man through high school and college. John learned carpentry from his grandfather and loved to work with his hands — from remodeling his home to building intricate models. He enjoyed his vegetable garden every year, even after it moved onto his balcony overlooking the ocean. During retirement, John’s high school quartet reunited to travel together and sing barbershop music annually. John and Charlotte traveled extensively here and abroad and after her death, John continued his travels with his sons and grandchildren. He and “Char” had 62 beautiful years of loving marriage.

Joining Kepner-Tregoe, Inc. (KT) in 1961 as the fourth employee, he built his career influencing the skills, values and outcomes of many company leadership teams. During his career, the company grew from a small start up to become a major force in consulting around the world. He taught management and leadership skills at the International Management Institute (Switzerland) for many years. John retired after 23 years with KT and continued serving on the board until 2007. With his close friend and business partner, he co-authored three management books, “Top Management Strategy,” “Vision in Action” and “The Culture of Success,” and authored a fourth book, “America Adrift — Righting the Course” (2012) intended for general readership.

Zim found time to make an impact in his community throughout his life with the historical society, Habitat for Humanity, Take Stock in Children, and most recently the Boys and Girls Club.

John was predeceased by his wife, Charlotte M. Zimmerman; his sister, Cecil Granger; and grandson, Thomas A. Zimmerman.

He is survived by his four sons and daughters-in-law, John W. Jr. and Alida L. M. Zimmerman; Paul E. and Debbie S. Zimmerman; Mark W. and Alexandra Zimmerman; and James P. and Marie B. Zimmerman; nephew William Granger; niece Barbara Pingel; his 12 Zimmerman grandchildren, John W. III, Sarah E., Seth P., Kara B., David P., Will D., Charlotte M., Audrey L., Matthew W., Katherine C., Ethan P. and Lydia G.; and his mentee Dakota Blair.

A memorial service will be held Monday, March 16, at 2:00 PM at the Amelia Plantation Chapel, 36 Bowman Road, Fernandina Beach, FL 32034.

The family asks that you not send flowers. If you would like to make a donation, please make the check out and send it to either the Community Hospice Foundation, 4266 Sunbeam Road, Jacksonville, FL 32257, or Take Stock in Children Nassau, 76346 William Burgess Boulevard, Yulee, FL 32097. Please note on the check “In memory of John W. Zimmerman Sr.”