TRAVERSE CITY [mdash] John Curtis Zimmerman passed away on Feb. 24, 2019 at the age of 86. Born Sept. 9, 1932, he was the eldest of two sons born to Delmar and Dawnita Zimmerman in Traverse City.
John married Jacquelyn “Jacque” Lee Bredahl on Jan. 5, 1952, and they spent 62 years together raising seven children, Diana (Dean) Mack, of Traverse City, David, of California, Brian (Renee), of Traverse City, Jon (Tom Wahl), of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Matthew (Jane Deering), of Traverse City, and Kristin Zimmerman (Christopher Green), of New Baltimore. He is also remembered by seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. He is also is survived by his brother, Tom (Angela), of Prescott, Arizona.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Jacque in 2014; and daughter, Tamara in 2007.
The Zimmerman name has been synonymous with the landscape and nursery business in Traverse City since the late 1920s when Del and Dawn developed the land where their home stood to open Zimmerman Nursery and House and Garden Shop on the corner of Bay Street and M-72.
John attended Michigan State College (now called Michigan State University) and spent the next few years in the East Lansing and Kalamazoo areas working in the landscaping and nursery business before moving back to Traverse City to work for his father. In 1970 John purchased his parents’ business, changed the name to Zimmerman Landscaping, Inc. and moved the business to its current location on M-72. The property where the business operates was originally the Hoolihan farm, and today is still referred to as “the farm.” All but one of John and Jacque’s seven children has worked in the nursery business. John’s son, Matthew, along with daughter, Kristin, will continue to run Zimmerman Landscaping, Inc. Brian owns and operates a landscape and nursery business, also in Traverse City.
John’s presence was felt every day at Zimmerman Landscaping, Inc. He was the undisputed patriarch and if you were very lucky, it was John who waited on you. In recent years, you would find John mowing the fields, answering the phones, fixing tools or working in what he called the vineyard (the area of the farm that nurtured sick plants back to health), and being a part of the day to day operation of the business. He proudly called himself the “gopher” … always ready to go and run an errand or participate in a project. This kept him connected and truly gave him joy.
There are clients who purchased landscape design and installation services from Del that are still customers today. John was always happy to talk about the trees that he planted as a teenager in parts of town and across Leelanau County. His sons, Matthew and Brian, now reminisce about homes that Grandpa Del landscaped in the ’30s that their dad re-landscaped in the ’70s and that they are now re-landscaping today.
In their later years, John and Jacque spent their winters in Green Valley, Arizona, and returned to Traverse City in April to start up the new business season. After Jacque passed away, John continued to winter in Green Valley, Arizona, with frequent visits from his kids and friends.
We cannot imagine not seeing our father at his desk or in the fields of his beloved farm. He loved people, a good conversation and made friends wherever he went. That alone is a legacy to live up to. We will do our best to continue the Zimmerman legacy in a manner our parents would be proud of.
Memorials in honor of John Zimmerman may be made to Grace Episcopal Church, Traverse City.

View Original NoticeZIMMERMAN, John Sep 9, 1932 - Feb 24, 2019