Hunting 05

Jay Zimmerman, Jr.

August 1, 1934 ~ April 2, 2024 (age 89) 89 Years Old

Jay Zimmerman, Jr. Obituary

Jay Zimmerman, Jr. died on April 2, 2024 in Laurinburg, NC. He was born in Danville, VA on August 1st, 1934 to Emma Watson Zimmerman and Jay Zimmerman, and grew up with his sister Katherine (Kitty) Watson in New Paltz, NY.

 A graveside service will be held at 11:00 am on April 6, 2024 at Spring Hill Cemetery in Wagram officiated by Pastor Jim Smith with a reception to follow at Scotia Village.

Jay attended Northwood School in Lake Placid, NY where he graduated cum laude and participated in track and hockey. He continued his athletic pursuits at UNC-Chapel Hill, where he ran varsity track and graduated with honors in English with an emphasis on creative writing. At Chapel Hill he met Isabel Madry, who became his loving wife of over 65 years. 

After graduation, Jay enlisted in the Army, learned Arabic and German, was stationed in Germany, and attained the rank of 1st  lieutenant, working as a field agent for the Army Intelligence Corps. After being honorably discharged, he earned his Ph.D. at Princeton University, where he specialized in structural geology, which allowed him to conduct field work in beautiful mountain ranges around the world, including Greece, Alaska, and Arkansas. 

After working in the private sector for several years, Jay returned to academic life. He accepted a post-doctoral fellowship at Stony Brook University and then a teaching position at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale. At SIU-C he rose to the rank of Professor, chaired the Department of Geology, was a popular lecturer, and served for several decades as a dedicated colleague and mentor. A highlight during this time was leading an undergraduate summer field course in Montana and Wyoming for many years.

In retirement, Jay enthusiastically devoted himself to his many interests, including birding, reading, sailing, sketching, watercolor painting, photography, and travel. He was a committed volunteer, contributing over 5,000 hours of service to his beloved Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge, where he was once named Volunteer of the Year. The refuge provided many subjects for his love of nature photography, and he was proud to have some of his favorite photographs included in local exhibitions and published in nature magazines. After 48 years in Southern Illinois, he and Isabel moved to North Carolina, which had long been a second home to them. 

Jay was a loving and devoted husband, father, grandfather, and uncle. He was endlessly curious and equally interested in science and the humanities. He was a lifelong student with a particular passion for history. Jay was also a gifted writer whose correspondence was invariably thoughtful and richly enjoyable, and an engaged conversationalist with a keen sense of humor that he never, ever lost. He will be deeply missed. 

Jay is survived by his wife, Isabel Zimmerman; his daughter Sarah Zimmerman and her partner Aniruddho Biswas; his son Jay Zimmerman III, and grandchildren Kate Zimmerman and Jacob Zimmerman. 

His family wishes to extend heartfelt thanks to the staff of Scotia Village Retirement Community and the staff of the Scotland Cancer Treatment Center for their compassionate care of Jay in his last days.

In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to The Nature Conservancy, 140 SW Broad St, Southern Pines, NC 28387.

Bumgarner Family Funeral Service and Crematorium is assisting the family.

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Graveside Service
April 6, 2024

11:00 AM
Spring Hill Cemetery
Old Wire Rd.
Wagram, NC 28396

Reception following the service
April 6, 2024

Scotia Village
2200 Elm Ave.
Laurinburg, NC 28352


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