Eulogy for Irving Zimmer by daughter Karen
Irving Zimmer passed away peacefully in his sleep on April 13, 2014.
Married more than 56 years to Rose Romano Zimmer, whom he met at a dance at the Jewish Community Center in San Francisco.
His daughters Karen and Kathy were devoted to keeping his life full after his stroke and the loss of their mother in 2008, taking him swimming twice weekly even at age 88, taking him to the theater, symphony, ballet and opera, museums, and outings with friends - he immensely enjoyed the arts. He was a theater director and actor for more than 60 years.
His pride were his girls, his 2 daughters - Karen and Kathy, and 2 granddaughters - Celina and Marlo.
He grew up in San Francisco, by his loving and devoted mother, Gizi Zimmer, who was a gourmet cook. He earned his Masters Degree in Speech & Hearing and Drama at Stanford University. He served in the Army and Air Force in World War II. He was a compassionate, fun-loving man, taking an interest in people everywhere he traveled. An avid reader, reading 5 books at a time, sailing and racing the boat he built, building and flying model airplanes, tending the gardens at home, vacationing yearly in Hawaii and taking trips to Europe thanks to Kathy's career as a flight attendant, enjoying wood working, holding musical Salons and play readings at his home are just some of the things he enjoyed.
Some of the lessons learned from him:
The right tool for the right job, whether in woodworking, or gardening, and you could say, in life, use the right tool for the right job.
“Everything in moderation”, was one of his often-used sayings – he did not believe in excesses.
He was a model of humility – he did not like to brag about his accomplishments.
In truth, one of his most important lessons was by demonstrating how to rise above a situation that was not optimal – he grew up in a household with his mother and step-father that was not a very happy environment, yet he rose above it and created a loving, stable, family environment with Rose and the two girls. He did not graduate high school, yet he achieved his Masters Degree from Stanford.
He had a very creative mind, and was a very intelligent man.
He was also great dancer and he and Rose were quite the dancing couple.
He introduced Rose to things she would never have tried – the camping trips, for instance.
Rose introduced him to things he never experienced before – a family that may have had disagreements on occasion but the next day they would be loving and respectful to each other.
He loved to sing. In his 80’s he still wanted to learn to play the piano and the violin.
He was a superb writer , the letters he wrote to friends in the days before email, were works of art and cherished by his friends. He wrote his own cards to Rose for every occasion.
When his first granddaughter Celina was born, he began writing a Letter To Celina, for her to read when she turned 18, telling her what was going in the world as she was growing up. When Marlo came along 3 years later, he added her into the letter.
He and Marlo worked on art projects together, such as stained glass & wood working projects.
He loved being a big part of his granddaughter’s lives - picking them up from school, taking them to the library frequently.
He was very fun, and would even let the girls’ paint his face anytime they wanted to.
He was proud of his son in law Ray for his achievements and for providing a beautiful home for his family.
The family is so grateful for the loving, caring help they received caring for Irving after his stroke, especially Solome, his aid, Joyce Greenberg his acupuncturist who really understood his soul, and Harriet and her staff at the swimming pool.
We also want to express deep appreciation to his long time friends, the Cromers, Peggy Monroe, the Bunins, And Bob Peterson with whom collaborated on with opera master classes and enjoyed many raucous discussions on politics and religion – once causing them and Hans Wolf to be kicked out of Denny’s for being too loud. The Master Class students were a joy to work with, some of them may be here today……including Tony LaStella.
These last 7 remarkable years, showed his tremendous strength of character - his steadfast will to live after the stroke, to be there for his girls. He was delighted to be with his girls, and go on the many outings. He even went to annual waltz balls dressed in his tux and white gloves, it was a pleasure for him to be there even though he would have preferred to get up and dance.