David W. Zimmerman, retired schools official

November 18, 1993|By DeWitt Bliss | DeWitt Bliss,Staff Writer

David W. Zimmerman, retired deputy state superintendent of schools, died Sunday of heart disease at his home on Hilton Avenue in Catonsville.

Dr. Zimmerman, who was 92, retired in 1969. He had held the No. 2 position in the state Department of Education since 1961.

He joined the department in 1942 as a supervisor. He helped develop a state aid formula for transportation of students, established day care centers for the children of working mothers during World War II and oversaw the integration of Maryland school systems.

He was chairman of the Governor's Commission for the Revision of the Public School Laws and was on the board of the Maryland Higher Education Loan Corp. He also headed three committees of the Study Commission of the National Council of Chief State School Officers and was co-author of the Maryland section of a book on education in various states from 1900 to 1966.

When Dr. Zimmerman retired, James A. Sensenbaugh, the state school superintendent, wrote to him, "I sincerely regret losing your assistance. Your advice and wise counsel have been valued by me personally."

William S. Sartorius, a retired Baltimore County school superintendent who had worked with Dr. Zimmerman in the state Education Department, described him yesterday as "a real friend, a real professional, a great educator, a wonderful fellow to work with and a real gentleman in every respect."

Mr. Sartorius said he succeeded Dr. Zimmerman as principal of Catonsville High School in 1942 and described it as a "good and well-organized" school. But he added, "All I heard the first year or two from both students and teachers was what a good guy he was."

Former students, most of them from Catonsville, invited Dr. Zimmerman to reunions, including the 50-year reunion of the Catonsville class of 1940.

Born in Walkersville, he was a 1923 graduate of Franklin and Marshall College. He earned a master's degree from the Teachers College at Columbia University in 1927 and a doctorate at the Johns Hopkins University in 1948. He also did graduate work at the University of Chicago.

He began his career as teacher and principal at the school in Walkersville in 1923, was principal of Frederick Junior High School from 1924 to 1926 and was principal of Thurmont High School from 1926 to 1932.

He then moved to Baltimore County, where he was principal of Kenwood High School for two years before moving to Catonsville High.

He helped start a library in Catonsville and was president of the Catonsville Library Association.

He was an elder of Catonsville Presbyterian Church and a member of the church board, and he wrote a centennial history of the congregation in 1980.

He was a former president of the Baltimore County Schoolmen, a member of the Phi Dela Kappa educational honorary society, the National Education Association and the Maryland State Teachers Association.

Graveside services were set for 2 p.m. today at Mount Olivet Cemetery in Frederick and a memorial service for 2 p.m. Saturday at Catonsville Presbyterian Church, Frederick Road and Beechwood Avenue.

He is survived by his wife of 64 years, the former Ethel Jane Birely; a daughter, Ann Kulp of Annandale, Va.; a sister, Clara Willis of Towson; and two grandchildren.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Grace Fund of Catonsville Presbyterian Church.

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