Jon “Jack” Zimmer Sr., of Elmhurst, passed away on Dec. 22, 2022, at the age of 84. He was born on January 4, 1938. Jack grew up in Chicago. He attended the University of Idaho with the hopes of becoming a park ranger. However, his love of science drew him to research chemistry. Upon graduation in 1961, he joined the US Army as an Intelligence Specialist in the Power Sources Division and married the love of his life, Carole. His son Jon Zimmer Jr. was born in 1962. Jack took his family to serve his country at Fort Monmouth in New Jersey. During this time, his unit was involved in the Cuban Missile Crisis. Upon his discharge they returned to Chicago where he started working at the Institute of Gas Technology. Jack and Carole moved to Elmhurst in 1965 and welcomed their daughter Catherine in 1966. They have lived here ever since.

Jack’s work experience expanded 30 years of research with multiple patents in pollution and energy projects including fuel cells that were used in the Blue Flame – a high-performing, ultra-high-speed rocket-powered vehicle which achieved the world speed record in 1970, his work was also used in different projects in the space industry.

Jack doted on his four grandchildren – Audra, Duncan, Cole and Cassidy. He visited them as often as possible. He painted their rooms, created stained glass for them, played trains, traveled with them, shared his love of cartoons, expanded their knowledge to ensure they were well-rounded individuals, and swelled with pride for each of their accomplishments. Jack was an avid model railroader all of his life learning and growing a layout built by his father. He was a member of the Elmhurst Railroad Club; the Three Lakes Model Railroad Club (Wisconsin) and most recently the Park Place Railroad Club. All of his homes displayed the working train layout and many of the rebuilt HO train cars, including LED lights and interior seating he designed using a 3D printer. The newest layout can be seen in the Park Place Creation room.

Jack believed in giving back to his community. He volunteered his whole life at a variety of organizations – the food pantry, Ray Graham Association, Chicago Christian, PADS, taught Sunday School, Humanity for Habitat in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, worked with students in a Fab Lab to program model trains and most recently as the Chair of Maintenance at Park Place.

Jack also excelled at making stained glass windows and projects, loved traveling, especially if there was a train trip involved, telling all kinds of jokes and making breakfast for his family. He was always on call for friends and neighbors to keep their houses in good working condition.

A Celebration of Life will be held at Park Place in the future when family and friends can gather. Information provided by the family.


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