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Richard A. Zimmerman, Former Board of Trustees Member, Dies
07.03.14 |
Richard A. Zimmerman, retired chairman and chief executive officer of The Hershey Company (Hershey Foods), died at the age of 82 at his home in Hershey on June 29. Zimmerman served as a member of Lebanon Valley College’s Board of Trustees from 1972 to 1981. He and his wife, Nancy, who also served on the College’s Board of Trustees (1984–1987) and is a 1953 graduate of LVC, were avid supporters of the arts and the benefactors of the Zimmerman Recital Hall, which is part of the Suzanne H. Arnold Art Gallery on campus.

“I think it is wonderful that Dick and Nancy so generously supported the arts in Lebanon County, and at Lebanon Valley College in particular,” Suzanne Arnold Schrotberger H’96 said. “The Zimmerman Recital Hall is such a beautiful performance space and truly helps make the Gallery come alive as a gem for artists and performers from across the country.”

Richard and Nancy were co-recipients of the College’s highest honor, the Founders Day Award, in 1991. Richard was honored again in 2003 becoming the only person in College history to receive the award more than once.
Richard Zimmerman’s connections to the College run deep. His father, Richard P. Zimmerman, served on LVC’s Board of Trustees from 1960–1975. In 1980, Richard A. Zimmerman received an Alumni Citation for his service to the College and in 1992 he received an honorary doctor of laws degree from the College.

The Rev. Dr. Daniel Shearer ’38, a member of LVC’s Board of Trustees from 1959 to 1988, worked closely with Zimmerman when he was chairman of the board of The United Theological Seminary (formerly the Dayton Theological Seminary) and on the LVC Board of Trustees. “Richard and Nancy were longtime friends through the church, the College, and the Dayton Seminary. They have always been generous and kind people and were partners in every sense of the word,” Rev. Shearer said. “He was an excellent trustee and loyal to the College and the community.”

The Rev. Dr. J. Dennis Williams H’90 served on the LVC board with Zimmerman and both families attended the First United Methodist Church of Hershey. “Richard and Nancy were very active members of the church,” Rev Williams said. “Richard was a very thoughtful and considerate person with a good mind. The kind of person you just naturally respected.”

The Zimmermans have provided financial support to the College for more than 30 consecutive years and in 1999 achieved Lifetime Vickroy status, which recognizes those whose cumulative lifetime giving totals $100,000 and more. Among the many College events they have supported over the years, the Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra performance held each July holds particular affection.

“The loss of such a great friend will be felt by the College and the greater community,” Dr. Lewis E. Thayne, LVC president, said. “I take comfort in knowing that Richard’s legacy will live on at the College every time a student, faculty member, or visiting artist performs in Zimmerman Recital Hall.”

Zimmerman was born in Lebanon, Pa., on April 5, 1932 to the late Richard P. and Kathryn Wilhelm Zimmerman. He is a graduate of Lebanon High School, class of 1949, and Penn State University, class of 1953, with a B.A. in commerce. He served as a Lieutenant in the United States Navy on the U.S.S. Pocono operating out of Norfolk, Va., from 1953–1956.

After leaving military service, he went to work at the Harrisburg National Bank and Trust Company, now Mellon Bank, as assistant director. Zimmerman began employment with Hershey Foods Company, now The Hershey Company, as an administrative assistant in 1958. He served in many capacities for the corporation, including vice president, president and chief operating officer, president and chief executive officer, and chairman, from which he retired in 1994.

Zimmerman is survived by his wife of 61 years, the former Nancy Cramer, two daughters, Linda Billmyer of Hummelstown and Jan Tulli (husband Tom) of Millersville, two brothers, Edward (wife Helen) and Peter (wife Joy), both of Chambersburg. He is also survived by five grandchildren and two great grandchildren, and was pre-deceased by an infant son, Thomas Richard. 

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