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Kenneth Elbert Zimmerman
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Birth: Jun. 18, 1913
Coleman County
Texas, USA
Death: Dec. 17, 2008
Harris County
Texas, USA

Kenneth E. Zimmerman, an architectural engineer who created structural designs of such Houston landmarks as the Astrodome, Jesse H. Jones Hall for the Performing Arts and Rice Stadium, has died. He was 95.

" "He was always knowledgeable and forthright," said Raymond J. Messer, president and board chairman of Walter P. Moore and Associates, where Zimmerman was a longtime executive. "He was able to tell a client the truth in ways that never upset them. He also instilled the value of professionalism in the people who worked for him."

"Kenneth Elbert Zimmerman was born on June 18, 1913, in Coleman in west Central Texas, the son of Elbert and Arra Nowlin Zimmerman. In 1929, he graduated from Coleman High School, where he played football and took part in track events. Zimmerman graduated from Texas A&M University in 1934 with a degree in architectural engineering and as a second lieutenant in the Army. Because he hadn't been certified as a structural engineer, Zimmerman at first took a job as a draftsman in a cousin's engineering firm in Longview.

"By 1937, Zimmerman had attained certification and was working for an architect in Tyler. In 1939, he joined engineer Walter P. Moore Sr. in Houston, where he continued until 1941, when the United States entered World War II and Zimmerman joined the Army Corps of Engineers. Posted to Oak Ridge, Tenn., Zimmerman was property manager, providing the contractors and scientists with whatever they needed to reach their goal: producing and separating plutonium for the Manhattan Project, which developed the atomic bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, on Aug. 6, 1945. At Oak Ridge, Zimmerman was allowed to have a secretary, so he chose Alma Sheffler, a civilian employee there.

"After the war, Zimmerman returned to Houston and resumed his work with Walter Moore. He and Alma Sheffler were married shortly thereafter. In his years with the Moore organization, Zimmerman also worked on such projects as the Warwick Hotel, the Bates-Freeman Building at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church and the C.E. "Pat" Olsen Field baseball stadium at Texas A&M. The Astrodome project was one of Zimmerman's favorite jobs. "It was the biggest and finest of its kind around," he said. In 2003, Zimmerman said: "To this day, I still think the Astrodome is the best football and baseball stadium around."

"Zimmerman had an intuitive understanding of structures, so he knew how to design them," said Narendra Gosain, senior principal and executive director of Walter P. Moore's Structural Diagnostics group.

"He could look at drawings and sense if something was amiss," Gosain said. "People trusted him (and) architects trusted his judgment." Zimmerman became chief engineer at the Moore firm and ultimately was vice chairman of the board. He retired in 1982. He was an honored guest in 2006 when the firm celebrated its 75th anniversary.

"Zimmerman died Dec. 17 in a nursing home in Houston. Alma Zimmerman died in 1999. Services were held Tuesday at Forest Park Lawndale Funeral Home, 6900 Lawndale. Burial was in Forest Park Lawndale Cemetery

"Survivors include a daughter, Molly Harris of Katy; and a son-in-law, Fred Womack of Kerrville."

(Houston Chronicle, Houston, Texas, December 24, 2008, Section B, Page 7.)
Family links: 
  Eugene Elbert Zimmerman (1873 - 1947)
  Arra Nowlin Zimmerman (1879 - 1951)
  Garland Eugene Zimmerman (1909 - 1987)*
  Kenneth Elbert Zimmerman (1913 - 2008)
*Calculated relationship
Forest Park Cemetery
Harris County
Texas, USA
Created by: Gary Wills
Record added: Dec 26, 2008
Find A Grave Memorial# 32419750
Kenneth Elbert Zimmerman
Cemetery Photo
Added by: Keith Phillpott
Photos may be scaled.
Click on image for full size.

- Molly & Katies Mom~**~
 Added: Dec. 26, 2008

- Gary Wills
 Added: Dec. 26, 2008

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