OBITUARY: Donald G. Zimmerman


Donald G. Zimmerman, age 93, passed away February 7, 2023, peacefully at his farm in the Suggs Creek community of Mt. Juliet surrounded by family.

A long-time Mt. Juliet resident, he was the co-founder of Textile Converters, Inc. (TCI), The Chronicle of Mt. Juliet newspaper, and the designer/builder of the Mt. Juliet Prayer Garden.

The son of Leon and Esther Zimmerman of Lancaster County, PA, Zimmerman and his family moved to their Mt. Juliet farm in 1978. He was married 54 years to Jetta Marie Elam of Rockford, IL, who passed away in 2006. They had four children, all who survive him. Zimmerman was married to Kat-Marie Gamel, who survives, since 2007.

Zimmerman was an avid sailor and active member of the Harbor Island Yacht Club, serving as Commodore in 1990. He and Jetta and friends often sailed the Caribbean. He was one of the few surviving members of the Williamson College of Mechanical Trades (Media, PA), Class of 1948. He and his family resided in Illinois and Wisconsin in 1949-70, before moving to Tennessee. His career included stints as a steam plant operator and owner of a hardware store.

In 1972, Zimmerman co-founded Textile Converters, a successful company based in Hermitage, processing textile materials for the Old Hickory Dupont plant. He was an active member of Celebration Lutheran Church, where the prayer garden is located. He and his wife Kat-Marie were also active members of the Men of Valor prison ministry and received the MOV Volunteers of the Year Award in 2011. He was also instrumental in the creation of the Mt. Juliet Help Center. He earned a private pilot’s license. He raised horses and livestock on his farm.

Semi-retiring in 1985, he worked and tinkered in a variety of activities, including house building, carpet and oil-spill reclamation, rescuing a concrete plant in receivership, building model boats and a full-size rowing skiff, erecting a working windmill, and producing handmade “water windows” and “toaster tongs” among many other pursuits.

In addition to his wife, survivors include children, Mark Zimmerman, Heidi (Fred Dies) Zimmerman, Karen (Steve) Morrow, Brian (Amy) Zimmerman, Janette (Karl) Lehtola, and Ronnie Gamel, Jr.; grandchildren, Walker (Cara) Dorris, Carson Dorris, Ansleigh (James) Wallace, Caitlin (Max) Trueheart, Sarah (Daniel) Sanders, Mary Kate Morrow, and Matt Sagraves and great-grandchildren, Merryn Dorris, Foster Dorris, Gavin Sagraves, Brenden Sanders, and Elliot Wallace.

A Celebration of Life service will be conducted at 11 a.m. Saturday, March 4, 2023 at Celebration Lutheran Church, 3425 N. Mt. Juliet Road, Mt. Juliet, TN. Interment will be at the Mt. Juliet Prayer Garden.

The family requests that in lieu of flowers, etc., donations be made to Celebration Lutheran Church or Alive Hospice.

Arrangements by Bond Memorial Chapel, N. Mt. Juliet Road and Weston Drive, Mt. Juliet, TN. (615) 773-2663.


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