Walter “Dan” Zimmerman

Walter “Dan” Zimmerman of Madison, Wisconsin, aged 89, passed away on May 15, 2023, at the VA Hospital in Madison, Wisconsin.  Dan was born in Merrill, Wisconsin to Walter and Velma (Kell) Zimmerman in August of 1933.    He is survived by his children Mary Lyn, Richard (Suzanne) and Randall, his Aunt Phyllis (Monty) Kell, his sisters Darlene (Rueben) Puphal and Shirley (David) Hulke, by eight grandchildren and four great-grandchildren, as well as numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.    He is preceded in death by his wife Loretta (Galipeau), his son Robert, his daughter Sherri, his parents, and his parents-in-law Ray and Helene (Wyss) Galipeau.

As a child and young man Dan loved to hunt and explore the North Woods of Wisconsin with his father and uncles.  Out of that time grew his love of the forest and lakes of Northern Wisconsin.  Throughout his life he was an avid hunter and fisherman.  In the summer before his Junior year in High School, he met Loretta Galipeau and he would spend the rest of his life with her.  They married shortly after graduating in 1952.  Unfortunately, she passed in 2022.  They would have celebrated their 70th Anniversary in October. Dan enlisted in the Navy in the summer of 1952 and headed to San Diego for boot camp.  He enlisted with the intent to become a corpsman but the Navy decided he was needed elsewhere and he eventually trained as a Fire Controlman.  He served primarily in the Pacific Theatre on the USS Bremerton (CA-130) and the USS Loffberg (DD759).  He is a Korean War Veteran and also participated in the Blockade of Formosa (now known as Taiwan) during heightened tensions with China.  After serving four years he returned to Merrill and started working with the Bell Telephone Company as a lineman.  Using his GI benefits, he also finished a degree at what was then known as the Wausau Technical Institute in Computer Technology.  That, combined with his Navy experience in electronics allowed him to steadily advance in the field of Telecommunications.  His first promotional move was to Woodruff/Minocqua area where he and Loretta also ran a small resort (Tall Pines Resort) on Mid Lake.  Over the next 35 years he and his wife would move over a dozen times until his retirement in 1988.  At that time, they resided in Hampton Virginia where he worked as a Project Manager for the General Telephone Company, overseeing several projects with the Pentagon and other federal agencies.   After retiring he returned to Merrill, and with his wife Loretta, purchased an old Victorian home at 700 W Main.  After a year of restoration work and decoration they opened the Candlewick Bed and Breakfast.  It was a huge success but after a few years they decided to retire more fully.  After living in Land’O’Lakes and Wausau, they would eventually move to Arizona where they lived for over 20 years and Dan perfected his golf game.  Due to health concerns and need for more family support, they returned to Wisconsin in 2017. Community and community service were very important to Dan and his wife.  After his service in the Navy, he went on to become an active member of the Lions Club and Knights of Columbus.  Dan was also very active in his church, volunteering to work in soup kitchens and distributing food and goods to those in need. Friends and family were also important to Dan and his wife.  Both worked hard to ensure a good life for their children often working two jobs during those early years.  While in the Navy both Dan and Loretta discovered their love of moving and exploring new places. Friends and cousins took turns coming up to the Resort on Mid Lake and their hospitality continued throughout their lives.  Dan was famous for his brats, beer soaked of course, and Loretta always supplied the fun.  They are both greatly missed.

A Mass of Christian Burial for Dan will be held on Monday, May 22, 2023 at 11am at St. Francis Catholic Church in Merrill.  Father Maria Vallabhaneni will officiate.  Visitation will be held on Monday, May 22, 2023, from 9am until 10:45am, at Waid Funeral Home.  Interment at St. Francis Catholic Cemetery in Merrill will immediately follow Mass.  Military honors will be performed at the cemetery. In lieu of flowers, family wishes donations in Dan’s name be directed to the Wausau Burns VFW Post #338, 212 East Randolph Street, Wausau, WI 54401. Family wishes to extend their thanks and appreciation to the staff at the William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital in Madison, WI, for their care, compassion and professionalism shown to Dan and his family. Waid Funeral Home & Cremation Service of Merrill is assisting the family with arrangements.  Online condolences are encouraged and may be made at

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