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Obituaries » Rex L Zimmerman

Rex L Zimmerman

September 3, 1948 - March 16, 2022

Service Date: March 19, 2022

Funeral Home Memorial Services of Iowa

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Rex Lewis “Papa” Zimmerman passed away peacefully surrounded by his family after a courageous two-and-a-half year battle with cancer.

The family will host a celebration of life open house at Memorial Services of Iowa (4208 N. Ankeny Blvd) in Ankeny from 2:00-4:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 19, 2022. Honor Rex by wearing your favorite Kansas City Chiefs, Cyclones, Hawkeyes, or golf shirt.

He was born on September 3, 1948, to Victor and Melva (Fink) Zimmerman of Des Moines. He eventually made his way to the Kansas City Art Institute, where he met his wife of 53 years, Kristie (Nefzger). He and Kristie “Gram” welcomed two wonderful, strong, independent women into this world – Tara (Brown) and Kali. They were also blessed with three granddaughters, Bergen, McKenna, and Delaney. Three of his girls welcomed wonderful men into the family, who Papa happily regarded as his own sons.

Papa was a hardworking man. He was involved in several successful business ventures where he accrued many lifelong friends. He was the proud part-owner of Des Moines Gun & Pawn until his retirement in 2018. Afterward, he spent the first of his retired years working at Cannoyer Garden Center and Brooks Brothers, creating art at home, and catching up on Netflix. He was diagnosed with cancer in 2019 and spent his last two-and-a-half years going through treatment and spending extra special time with his family and close friends.

Papa was loved so much by his family and friends. He was always positive, generous, kind, and he loved to spend time with his small, very close family. He was creative and unique. He was a great listener. He was the family’s well-dressed patriarch, their resident artist, poem-writer, creator of the annual Christmas Project, and lover of golf, fishing, pool, poker, bourbon, true crime (before it was cool), and the Kansas City Chiefs.

He was the world’s greatest Papa. His and Gram’s many beautiful homes over the years were always the gathering place for their small, close-knit family. Papa loved to sit down and chat 1-on-1 with each of the family members, listen to their stories, ask them about their lives, and remark about how incredible he thought each of them was. He was their #1 fan. He loved to collect their artwork and various awards to display proudly in his home. He complimented them on every tiny little thing they accomplished and pointed out all the things he loved about them. He always pointed at his cheek and tilted his head to the side, his unique way of asking for a kiss. He always asked the girls, “Have I told you I love you today?” and always, always, always told all of them, “You’re one of my favorites.”

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