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Richard D. Zimmerman

July 18, 1931 July 11, 2021
Richard D. Zimmerman
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Obituary for Richard D. Zimmerman

Born in Detroit, Michigan to William W. and Augusta V. Zimmerman on July 18, 1931, Richard was followed by brother William and sister Irene (now deceased). He graduated from Wilkins Elementary and Denby High School. From age 10 to 18, he delivered the Detroit News and was a station manager the last two years. He did many odd jobs too.

He secured a Tool & Die apprenticeship at Bower Roller Bearing and earned a journeyman status. He attended General Motors Institute (now Kettering University) as a co-op student with Detroit Diesel Engine Division and earned a mechanical engineering degree. He married his childhood sweetheart, Marilynne (Mary) I. Payette, had a daughter Leslie Ann and then adopted Richard Deane Jr. and Thomas Henry. He leaves behind five grandchildren and two great grandchildren.

Employed for 5 years by Campbell Machines Company, he learned how not to manage a business. He was then employed for 8 years by General Electric Carboloy Department where he tested and taught customers how to use carbide tools; he eventually became a tool manufacturing manager. Ingersoll Milling Machine Company used his talent for two years as sales manager in Rockford, Illinois.

He returned to the Detroit area as a result of an offer by Campbell Machine to be plant manager. It lasted 7 years. In 1969, he and a few associates founded Spectrum Automation Company. They specialized in parts feeding and material handling for a wide range of businesses. They produced $250 million in products and service worldwide in 50 years, despite 8 years of frivolous lawsuits by a competitor. The competitor lost and paid part of the legal costs.

He invested in a cottage at Canadian Lakes, Michigan, which family and friends enjoyed year-round for 40 years. Dick and Mary joined the Nomads Flying Travel Club with its own 727 aircraft. They chose to fly on 3 to 4 day weekends to sites in the USA. They met and kept many close friends on over eighty trips in ten years. With the passing of his beloved wife (ovarian cancer), joys at the cottage and with Nomads ended in 2010. Dick Zimmerman affectionately known as G.O.D. (Good Old Dick) by his employees, was a mentor and good friend. He was part of our families and will be sorely missed by all.

Private services have been held.


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