Cover photo for Martha L Zimmerman's Obituary
Martha L Zimmerman Profile Photo
1932 Martha 2023

Martha L Zimmerman

November 16, 1932 — April 3, 2023

Martha Louise Zimmerman, age 90, passed away on April 3, 2023 in Madison, WI.

She is survived by her sister Carol Scott; children Varani Kaufman, Mark Kaufman, Peter Kaufman (Jan Viney) and Tanya Magee; step-sons Steven Zimmerman (Sharon Shavitt), Robert Zimmerman (Gerianne Holzman), Jim Zimmerman; and several nieces and nephews.

Martha was born in Torch, Ohio on November 16, 1932 and lived in a number of southern states during her childhood. At Indiana University she met her first husband, Dr. Howard Kaufman, an anthropologist, and traveled with him to Southeast Asia where she spent the next 22 years of her life (Thailand, Laos, Korea, Nepal, Vietnam, a few years in Maryland USA, then back to Thailand). The family then moved to Wisconsin. She received her Bachelor's and Master's Degree at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Martha befriended a group of Hmong ladies, and their families, and became their advocate. She helped them adapt to American culture, and acted as interpreter and resolved administrative issues. She helped sell their embroidered handiwork and also exhibited these embroideries at museums and other organizations in Wisconsin, North Carolina, and as far away as Tokyo, Japan. She eventually donated her personal collection of these embroideries to the Hmong Archives in St. Paul, Minnesota, who published a book based solely on her collection.

While living in Madison, Martha married chemistry professor Dr. Howard Zimmerman and continued her world travels with him to chemistry conferences. She was interviewed for the "Know Your Madisonian" feature of the Wisconsin State Journal, and was a proud member of Mensa.

Martha spoke French and Thai, and while working with the Hmong, learned Lao.

She was interested in all forms of art, music, and ballet. She could sight read music, played the piano and had an expansive collection of mainly reference books on all topics.

Martha will be remembered for her compassion and always greeting you with a big smile.

A special thank you to all the caring staff at St. Mary's Care Center.

If you wish to donate in her memory, please send it to Fox Valley Memory Project, 1800 Appleton Rd, Menasha, WI 54952. (920) 225-1711.
To order memorial trees in memory of Martha L Zimmerman, please visit our tree store.


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