Thomas Zimmerman, 41

Musician and medical student

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Thomas William Zimmerman, 41, of River Forest died peacefully on May 13 2020. Loved by many, more importantly, he loved many. An innovative musician, writer, future physician, true intellectual, and lead driver of the Motorcade of Love, his heart had no barriers, and his friendship knew no bounds. He faced his illness with bravery, and humility, leaving this world on his own terms. 

Born on Aug. 31, 1978, he spent his early years in Bloomingdale, Illinois, before moving to River Forest. He graduated from OPRF in 1996, Northwestern University in 2000, and attended Rosalind Franklin University Medical School for three years, leaving to fight liver disease. An avid guitarist and powerful songwriter, he performed with the John Barry Suggestion and The Interociter, playing lead guitar and doing vocals in Chicago venues. He had a lifelong love of reading, and Chicago professional sports teams provided energetic diversions and discussions with friends. He cheered the Chicago Cubs to a World Series, the 1985 Chicago Bears to a Super Bowl, the Jordan years with the Bulls, and the Blackhawks to three Stanley Cups. He scanned pet rescue internet sites to find the neediest cats and dogs to adopt.

"Tom was a front man for a band and pursuing a medical degree," recalled Colin Jensen. "I couldn't reconcile that a guy so smart and so funny could actually be good at so many different things."  

"As great as the music was, so were the drives to Oak Park, grabbing greasy food before and after shows, meeting up at Rose's and the Rip Tide Lounge, and general mayhem all around," said Sam Grossman. "Tom always had the keen ability to steer you away from anything remotely phony and remind you to like what you liked." 

"My heart is heavy, but even after all these years since the days at Willard, when I think of Tom, I see him playing his guitar at some late night hour, eyes closed contentedly, a curled smile on his face," added Taruna Madhav-Crawford.

Tom Zimmerman was preceded in death by his grandparents, Edward and Helen Zimmerman and Fred and Nancy Simon, and uncles Eddie Zimmerman and Bobby Simon. He is survived by his parents, Robert (Tobert) and Leslie Zimmerman of River Forest; sister and best friend Amy Zimmerman; nephew Andrew Zimmerman; brother-in-law Ryan Auerbach; uncles John Zimmerman, Joey Zimmerman, Lee Worthy, Jim Provines, Bruce Simon, David Simon, Jerry Simon, Danny Simon, Mike Simon, Mike Groves, and Eddie Simon; aunts Pam Zimmerman, Marguerite Simon, Karen Simon, Donna Kampner, Alison Simon, Mary Simon, and Chris Simon; and many cousins and second cousins.

A celebration of Tom's life is planned for a safer and later date. Memorials in Tom's memory can be made to the Chicagoland Food Depository, the American Red Cross, or Cavalier Rescue Midwest (cavalierrescuemidwest.org). A special thanks from Tom's family to Journeycare Chicago.

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