Norwalk, Ohio - After a long and fulfilling life, Jimmie Carrol Zerman, 94, passed peacefully from this life to the next on Saturday, July 25, 2020 at her home in Norwalk, Ohio. Much loved for her devotion to family and friends, admired for her work ethic and a lifelong believer in God, she had an independent spirit which lasted until her final breath.
Born prematurely in Wilson, OK on February 16, 1926, to James Leon Burley and Gladys Fisher Burley, she weighed only one and a half pounds. Not expected to survive the day, she was placed in a dresser drawer with a light bulb as a make-shift incubator. Over the next two decades of her life, she endured numerous hospitalizations for complications resulting from her premature birth. She missed both the 4th and 7th grade due to multiple surgeries for osteomyelitis and a spinal fusion at the age of 10 and was told that she would never walk without crutches or bear children. Proving the doctors wrong, she spent most of her adult life in spiked heels and was blessed with two children. Despite her challenges, she graduated third in her class at the age of 16 and went on to attend Hills Business University in Oklahoma City. She became the secretary for the commanding officer of the 92nd Corp Army Base in Muskogee, OK, where she met her first husband at an USO dance. Upon his discharge from the Army, they purchased a home in Chicago, IL and in 1950, with their two children, moved to Norwalk, Ohio where she lived for the remainder of her life. In 1971, she married George Zerman, Jr. and celebrated over 25 years together until his death.
Jimmie Carrol loved the Lord, her church, and her church family. She was an active member of the First Baptist Church in Norwalk. Joining in 1950, her nearly 70 years of membership made her the oldest living member until her death. She served in numerous positions including the Diaconate Board, Church Financial Secretary, Sunday School teacher, and many offices in the American Baptist Women's Fellowship. She was an active member of the 49ers Sunday School class and the Golden Lambs.
In 1996, she retired from Norwalk Furniture Corp. after 40 years as Payroll Systems Manager. She was also an 18-year member of the Order of Eastern Star Chapter #15, holding the stations of Ada and Martha. A loyal blood donor for over 40 years, she was just shy of being a 10-gallon donor.
She was a voracious reader who finished every book she started, even if she did not like it, and a faithful Cleveland Indians fan. Highlights for her were lunching and playing cards with her surrogate “daughters” and maintaining special friendships with those with whom she worked. She and George spent many vacations traveling the United States. Her love of traveling continued in her retirement, including a trip to England and Scotland, and cruising with her children to Hawaii for her 80th birthday, and to France, Spain, Italy, Monaco, and the Canary Islands. Since 2009, she spent her winters in Arizona with her daughter and son- in-law.
The sun rose and set in her grandchildren and her “greats” as she liked to call them. In addition to her daughter and son-in-law, Candice (nee Brechwald) and Richard Haas, Huron, OH, she is survived by her grandchildren, Tamara Haas (Steve Schwab), Goodyear, AZ; Bryan (Laurie) Haas, Sarasota, FL; Megan Haas (Eric) Schmidt, Goodyear, AZ; and Julie Brechwald (Tom) Pozda, Plain City, OH; She is also survived by 7 great-granddaughters Morgan, Meredith, Macy, Kayla, Jordan, Halle, and Sophie and 2 great grandsons, Ryan and Dylan; a great-great grandson due in December; dear friends Carrol and Larry Coon of Norwalk; stepchildren Roy (Debbie) Zerman, Grand Ledge, MI; Chuck (Mary) Zerman, Mentor, OH; Patty (Denny) Gatten, Jacobsburg, OH; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Preceding her in death is her husband, George Zerman, Jr. in 1996; her son, James C. Brechwald in 1981; her siblings and their spouses Pat & Ed Madsen, Carl & Louise Burley, and Tom & Penny Burley; her former husband, Glen Brechwald; and stepson Rich Zerman.
She would often comment “Who would have ever thought I would live to be this old when I wasn't expected to live out the day I was born?” She never hesitated to tell others how blessed she felt and shared the knowledge that all she had was a result of the grace of God. Well done, thou good and faithful servant.
The family will receive friends for visitation on Wednesday, July 29, 2020 from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. in Walker-Eastman-Heydinger Funeral Home, 98 W Main Street, Norwalk, Ohio. A small Eastern Star Chapter 15 service will take place prior to 6:00 p.m. A graveside service will be held on Thursday, July 30, 2020 at 10:30 a.m. in Woodlawn Cemetery, 200 Woodlawn Ave. Norwalk, Ohio, followed by a Celebration of Life - Memorial Service at 11:30 a.m. in the First Baptist Church of Norwalk, 67 E. Main St, Norwalk, Ohio. Both services will be officiated by Rev. Dr. Tara Henderson. With the current COVID 19 pandemic it is requested that all attendees wear a mask and follow all government mandated guidelines.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the First Baptist Church of Norwalk, 67 E Main Street, Norwalk, Ohio 44857, or to the charity of the donor's choice. Online condolences may be expressed by going to www.walkereastmanheydingerfh.com.
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First Baptist Church of Norwalk
67 E. Main Street, Norwalk OH 44857