BROOMFIELD, Colo. — Kenneth Walter Zimmerman Jr., 77, passed away on Sunday, July 21, 2019.
Ken was born in Woodstock, Ill., to Kenneth Walter Zimmerman Sr. and Shirley Zimmerman.
Ken grew up in Aurora and attended West Aurora High School, where his father was a teacher and the head football coach. During the summers, his family would spend time at their cabin in Mercer, Wis.
Ken attended the University of Illinois in Champaign, where he received his master’s degree in physical education in 1965. During this time, he was the captain of the football team and a member of the Big Ten Conference fencing team. He was awarded the most valuable football player in 1962.
After receiving his master’s degree, Ken taught physical education and coached football at Glenbard East High School in Lombard. In the fall of 1967, Ken moved to Colorado, where he took a position coaching football and teaching driver education at Arvada West High School.
After Jefferson County schools cut back on teachers, Ken made a career move to the ski industry and moved to Vail, Colo., where he met the mother of his children, Jamie Sutton. Ken taught skiing for the Vail Ski School and later became the director of the Lake Eldora Ski School. He was selected as one of 10 instructors to represent the United States at the French National Ski School in Chamonix, France, and graduated with honors. Ken was very proud of this accomplishment.
Moving to Boulder in the early 1970s, Ken pursued a career as a sales representative for a variety of ski and tennis companies before making the change to commercial real estate both in Denver and Newport Beach, Calif. Ultimately, he returned to finish his career working for the University of Colorado as director of development in the Athletic Department and finally returning to his alma mater, the University of Illinois, as the director of major gifts for the Division of Intercollegiate Athletics.
After retiring, Ken moved back to Vail, where he returned to teaching skiing for the Vail Ski School. He truly loved skiing and teaching others to ski.
Ken was an amazing athlete and spent most of his free time enjoying tennis, golf, cycling, skiing and fly fishing. As a unique accomplishment, he received a black belt in taekwondo and kung fu and taught at Jung’s School in Boulder.
Throughout his life, Ken loved music and was a talented guitarist; he adored his vintage Martin D28 and enjoyed getting together with friends and brother to play and share his passion. Ken also had the ability to fill a room with his personality and remarkable sense of humor; he could always make people laugh.
Ken is survived by his son, Brett, and daughter Darcy; his sister, Mary and brother-in-law Ed Kuiper of Colorado Springs; as well as several nieces and nephews. Ken lost his younger brother unexpectedly in December 2017; his sister-in-law, Martha, lives in Erie. Brett lives in Boulder with his wife Jen and their children, Sutton and Finley. Darcy and her husband Bryan Kramer live in Denver.
A celebration of life will be held on Saturday, Aug. 31, at North Boulder Park on the corner of Ninth Street and Dellwood Avenue, Boulder, CO 80304, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.