ENGLEWOOD — James Zimmerman, of Braden River, Fla., and Englewood, Ohio passed away December 15, 2020, after a valiant fight against Lung Cancer. Jim was born to Louis and Catherine Zimmerman. He was preceded in death by his sister June Todoroff, brothers in law Thomas B. Kyle, Jr and wife Marilyn and Jim Kyle and wife June. He is survived by his wife of 56 years Barbara Kyle Zimmerman, their son Doug and Grand Cats, Chester and Sea-Cat, sister in law Karolyn and husband Don Vandeveer and many cousins, nieces and nephews.
He was a 1952 graduate of Roosevelt High School and served in the United States Marine Corps during the Korean Conflict. Jim retired as corporate Vice President of The Cincinnati Cordage & Paper Company and General Manager of Cordage of Dayton. Jim began his long career in the paper industry with The Mead Corporation, Cleveland Paper Company and joined The Cincinnati Cordage & Paper Company in 1961. He retired from Cordage in 1991 at age 56.
Jim was an avid golfer and was a 50 year member of Miami Valley Golf Club – Dayton (MVGC) with a single digit handicap well into his 70s. It rose slightly to the low teens in his 80s. He was still shooting in the 80s in his 9th decade. He scored a Hole in One on Number 17 at Tara Golf & Country Club, (Braden River, Fla.) where he lived and was a member, on 28 March 2012. He served on the Board of Trustees and was Vice President of MVCG in the 1980s. Jim loved baseball, especially the Cincinnati Reds and played in the Cleveland Indians organization in the 1950s. During a pregame held at the final day for Riverfront Stadium (2002) in Cincinnati, Jim scored a run by jumping over the catcher and tagging the plate at age 68. He was a season ticket holder for more than 40 years of University of Dayton Flyers Basketball. He also was an avid Bridge player at Tara Golf & Country Club, MVGC, with family and friends and the Bridge Center.
For more than 50 years, Jim grew and showed Roses with his family across the United States and Canada. He and Barbara won all of the major awards of the American Rose Society (ARS) including the Milton Hershey Memorial, the Herb Bope, the Ralph Moore and J. Horace McFarland Memorial Trophies multiple times. These are the highest awards given by ARS and the Buckeye District. Jim was a member of the American Rose Society and served on its national Board of Directors and received the Silver Medal for Outstanding Contributions to the organization. He was also the Director of the Buckeye District of the American Rose Society. He was a Master Consulting Rosarian and a Judge Emeritus of ARS. He was a member of The Miami Valley Rose Society, The Columbus Men’s Rose Club, and the Bradenton Sarasota Rose Society. Jim and Barbara hybridized many new roses including Stonewall Manor, Court of Honor and Chessie’s Favorite, the 2016 ARS Award of Excellence winner. Jim loved to share his knowledge about Roses and, over the years, many people learned how to start, grow, show and win at Rose Shows because of his help. Jim built and paid for the AARS (All America Rose Selection) Test Garden at the John and Mable Ringling Museum in Sarasota, Fla. The test garden was rated the number one test garden in the United States before it was removed due to budget cuts by the museum’s management. Fortunately the beauty of this garden lives on in pictures. He was famous for delivering Roses and other flowers grown in his gardens to friends, family, customers and suppliers. Barbara and Jim received the City of Englewood, Ohio Beautification Award multiple times. Their gardens and story were featured in many publications including the Dayton Journal Herald, the Dayton Daily News, the American Rose Magazine, and the Englewood Independent.
The Zimmerman’s sponsored a bed at The Columbus Park of Roses featuring Chessie’s Favorite and other Zimmerman hybridized Roses. Jim was a frequent guest on The Garden Spot with Mabel Shoup on WAVI Radio and the Urban and Suburban program with Harry Butler on WHIO-TV.
Jim was a 50-plus year member of Englewood Masonic Lodge 743, Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite-Valley of Dayton, The Royal Order of Jesters-Dayton Court No. 10, Antioch Shrine, and Moose Lodge 2188 Anna Maria Island, Fla., and The Dayton Racquet Club. He was also a long time member, along with Doug, of The Dayton Agonis Club.
The Zimmerman’s loved to travel and over the years, Barbara, Jim and Doug visited more than 50 countries in Europe, Asia, North and South America, Australia, New Zealand and Antarctica.
We want to thank the staff of Tidewell Hospice for their support and guidance and everyone else that helped with the loving and compassionate care for Jim.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a contribution to The Columbus Park of Roses Foundation for the care of the Zimmerman Garden, Tidewell Hospice Foundation of Lakewood Ranch, Fla., or the charity of your choice. We will celebrate Jim’s life in a more traditional manner when the time is right that friends and family can gather safely.