Barbara Zimmer: a life lived

Dateline: Mon 16 Aug 2010

Friend and blog reader Tom Butters sent this email Sunday:

"Barbara Zimmer died last week and her obit is in the Star today. It might be worth a headsup in your blog.

"Barbara was instrumental in working for women's rights, for literacy and for the arts.  Her obit says much more than I can.  She was a literate classy woman and with her husband Karl, contributed much to the texture of Indianapolis life.  If you never had an opportunity to work with her, you missed something.
"She and Karl were among our oldest friends, going back to the late 1960s when Mary Anne (Tom's wife)met her while working for the Star.  She and Karl took a couple years off in later life to live in Malaysia, teaching reading.  That they were well-off didn't prevent her from doing what she thought needed to be done."

According to the obituary, Mrs. Zimmer was 81 years old, a Minneapolis native, a graduate of the University of Chicago (on scholarship) and an extraordinarily accomplished person: she was an educator and a League of Women Voters member and president of the Indiana League, as well as a member of various committees that worked to make this city a better community.

Of course, the family wrote the obituary, and in many ways -- cost aside -- that's been an improvement for the newspaper. We often get a more full and accurate picture of a person when the story is told by family members.

I do miss the feature, A Life Lived, which focused on an individual in our area who has died; the idea was for a Star reporter to tell a more personal story about one life and death. That seems to (again) have fallen by the wayside.

But to get a sense of what that feature was like, read Mrs. Zimmer's obit:

 With thanks to Tom for pointing this story out, and with gratitude for a life well-lived.


Karl R. Zimmer III [unverified] said:

Dear Ruth,

Thank you (and Tom) for using your space to introduce your readers to an exceptional woman, my mother. Hers was a life well lived. She fought for what she believed was right, and she had the courage to speak out when others shied away.

She touched countless lives. I met a young woman who wrote about my mother in her Masters thesis. I hear from many I have never met who have wonderful stories to tell about how my mother changed their lives for the better.

I can not be more proud, and I thank each and every one for their kind and supportive words.


Karl R. Zimmer III

2010-08-16 07:37:41

hendy [Member] said:

A wonderful obit of a life well-lived.

That The Star in all of its profit-hounding glory should charge plenty for such a story, means that the story of other lives won't be told for others to use as an example.

And so, if I recall correctly, there's a paper that does nothing but list drug and sex offenders being published in Indy, why not one that spends paper or digital ink on obituaries? Anyone out there have an entrepreneurial instinct?

2010-08-16 09:03:19

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

"A Life Lived" is still published on occasion. I know because Sunday's was a friend of mine who died too young at age 29. It was a touching story of a conservative dad who learned to accept his gay son.

2010-08-16 17:57:09

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