WAUSEON - Kenneth Benjamin Zimmerman, a farmer, World War II veteran, and checkers enthusiast, died Friday at Fairlawn Haven Nursing Home in Archbold, apparently from complications that arose from a stroke he had 13 years ago. He was 86.
Mr. Zimmerman was a lifelong Wauseon resident and came from a well-known family of Fulton County farmers. He entered the nursing home earlier this year.
He was a member and past commander of the Robinson-Gibbs American Legion post in Wauseon; a member of the Fulton County Disabled American Veterans, and a member and past president of the National Farmers Organization.
His wife, Eleanor, and a daughter, Jane Hulse, described him as a “quiet, hard-working individual” who was proud to serve his country during World War II and eager to take on anyone at a game of checkers.
A Navy veteran, Mr. Zimmerman served in the South Pacific aboard the battleship USS North Carolina from 1942 to 1945. He worked as an electrician while in the Navy and took a personal interest in the ship.
“He loved that ship. He acted like it was his own,” his brother, Glen, said.
Mr. Zimmerman was a champion checkers player who competed for years at a tournament in Lakeside. He claimed he beat almost all the seamen aboard the battleship, family members said.
Mrs. Hulse said her father took a no-nonsense approach to life, but was known for his gentleness and empathy for his family. “He always wanted the best for us,” she said.
Pearl Zimmerman, a sister-in-law, agreed. She said he often came off as serious but “was a very nice man.”
Mr. Zimmerman was a member of Trinity Lutheran Church, Wauseon.
Survivors include his wife, Eleanor; two daughters, Nora Staunton and Jane Hulse; a son, John; two granddaughters; two brothers, Wayne and Glen, and four sisters, Theola Hite, Irma Hoy, Mary Miley, and Clarice Krause.
Services will be at 11 a.m. tomorrow at Trinity Lutheran Church, Wauseon, with visitation at the Edgar-Grisier Funeral Home in Wauseon from 2 to 5 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. today.
The family requests memorials to Trinity Lutheran Church, Wauseon.