Ethel J. Zimmerman, 93, Catonsville activist

June 05, 1999

Ethel J. Zimmerman, a homemaker who was active in the civic and cultural life of Catonsville, died Monday from complications of a stroke at the Charlestown Retirement Community. She was 93.

A Catonsville resident since 1934, Mrs. Zimmerman joined the Woman's Club of Catonsville and held numerous offices and was parliamentarian for 15 years.

In the early 1940s, she was active with other members in establishing a public library in Catonsville. After the then county commissioners promised a $1,000 matching grant, Mrs. Zimmerman and other volunteers walked door-to-door collecting a dollar and used books from each resident.

Their efforts became the core of what became the Catonsville library collection before Baltimore County founded a public library system in 1948.

Mrs. Zimmerman was also active in the Maryland Federation of Women's Clubs, the Red Cross, the Catonsville Concert Association and the Daughters of the American Revolution, Carroll Dalton Chapter.

She was ordained a ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church (USA) and was president of the Women's Association and Sunday school superintendent at Catonsville Presbyterian Church.

Born Ethel Jane Birely in Sabillasville, Frederick County, she was a graduate of Thurmont High School and Waynesboro Business College in Pennsylvania and attended Western Maryland College and the Johns Hopkins University.

In 1929, she married David W. Zimmerman, former principal of Catonsville High School and deputy state superintendent of schools. He died in 1993.

A graveside service will be held at 11 a.m. today at Mount Olivet Cemetery in Frederick. A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday at Catonsville Presbyterian Church, Frederick Road and Beechwood Ave.

Mrs. Zimmerman is survived by a daughter, Ann Kulp of Annandale, Va.; two sisters, Doris Kepner of Oxon Hill and Helen DeLawter of Timonium; two grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

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