Judith Maree (Gregory) Zimmerman, 82, passed away peacefully on Wednesday morning, March 29, 2023 at the Gables Assisted Living Facility in Idaho Falls, Idaho, where she had lived since September 2022. Judy was previously a resident of Nashville, Indiana, having lived there for nearly 50 years. She also lived for a short time in Bloomington and Dillsboro, Indiana, and was formerly a resident of Wyoming, Montana, Florida, North Carolina, North Dakota, and British Honduras (Belize).
Judy was born November 30, 1940, in Jacksonville, Florida. She lived the early part of her life in Florida and spent the majority of her formative years in North Dakota. She moved with her family to North Dakota when she was 11, and ultimately ended up in her mother’s hometown of Taylor, North Dakota, where she graduated Salutatorian from Taylor High School in 1958. She was an active member of the Taylor HS music program and went on to pursue a degree in education with a focus on music at Dickinson State Teacher’s College in Dickinson, North Dakota, where she earned her Bachelor of Science in 1962. As both a music and elementary school educator, Judy taught for over 29 years total in North Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, and Indiana. In Indiana, she was employed by the Brown County School Corporation for 19 years, having returned to the workforce after staying home to raise her children. She retired from the Elementary School in Nashville in 2004 after nearly two devoted decades of teaching primarily music and 6th grade, which also included stints at Sprunica Elementary and Van Buren Elementary in Brown County.
After graduating from college and taking a cross-country trek via moped, Judy joined the Peace Corps and served for two years in the 1960’s in British Honduras, where she honed her teaching skills. After her overseas tour and her return to the U.S., Judy met William “Bill” Harold Zimmerman while on a teaching assignment in Wyoming, and they were eventually married in their beloved Jackson Hole on July 10, 1970. Judy eventually moved with Bill to his Indiana hometown near Cincinnati, and the couple later moved to Brown County in 1973, where she spent most of her adult life and raised a family in the Nashville community. Judy and Bill spent 41 loving years of marriage together and created many special memories with their children before Bill’s passing in 2011.
Judy was a member of the Nashville United Methodist Church, where she was part of the Methodist Women group and was heavily involved with the church’s music ministry. She enjoyed leading the bell choir, singing in and directing the chorus, and playing the piano for both the church and for various school and community productions as volunteer pianist. She was also an integral member of the Bloomington Chambers Singers for more than three decades and truly loved being part of this group of talented musicians and performing all types of choral music throughout the years.
Judy had a variety of passions and was heavily involved in a number of interest groups and charity organizations in Brown County. Among the groups she participated in or helped lead were Pioneer Women, PEO, and Tri Kappa, and she and her husband were long-time members of the “BC/BC” Bird Club. Judy was regularly involved in nature conservation efforts in the community, participated in local boards and committees--such as the Methodist Church building committee for major renovations and the Brown County High School scholarship committee, and she was responsible for establishing the annual Brown County Community Foundation’s “Zimmerman Scholarship,” awarded annually to high school graduates planning to major in the arts.
In addition to being a lover of music, art, and nature, Judy loved to read in her spare time and took great pleasure in doing handiwork and taking on any number of creative endeavors. Most recently, she belonged to the Nashville-based “QUILTS” quilting group, in which she enjoyed making beautiful quilts with her friends for those in need and making, displaying, and selling them in the annual Brown County quilt show. Judy’s tireless devotion and active leadership in volunteer organizations throughout the community set a wonderful example for others and made a significant impact on each organization’s ability to fulfill its philanthropic mission.
Judy was much loved and will be missed by: her son, J. Matthew (Shawn) Zimmerman of Ellicott City, Maryland, and her daughter Martha Maree (Honza) Vorel of Jackson, Wyoming; her grandchildren William Powell Zimmerman, Claire Maree Zimmerman, Addy Maree Vorel, and Elsa Anja Vorel; her sister and brother-in-law Janis Noel (Gregory) and John Funk, her step-brother Bob Birkmaier, and her sisters-in-law Betty (Zimmerman) Billman and Kathey (Rinehardt) Birkmaier; as well as her many nephews, nieces, and cousins.
She was preceded in death by her husband Bill, her mother Helen Maree (Goding) Birkmaier, her step-father Edmund “Ed” Birkmaier, her step-brother Gary Birkmaier, and her father Jesse Noel Gregory.
Rev. Mary Cartwright will conduct a funeral service at 12 p.m. on Saturday, April 8th at the Nashville United Methodist Church: 36 S. Jefferson Street Nashville, Indiana 47448. Friends may call from 10 a.m. until service time at the church. Burial will be at Greenlawn Cemetery in Nashville. Arrangements have been entrusted to Meredith-Clark Funeral Home Cremation & Personalization Center in Morgantown.
Memorial contributions may be sent in memory of Judy to the Brown County Community Foundation Zimmerman Scholarship Endowment Fund: P.O. Box 191 Nashville, Indiana 47448 or to the Dementia Society of America at dementiasociety.org.
Condolences may be sent to the Zimmerman family at www.meredith-clark.com.
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