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Obituary: Doris Adele (Blackburn) Zimmerman

Aug. 13, 1943 – Sept. 7, 2023

We are sad to announce that Doris Adele (Blackburn) Zimmerman passed away on Sept. 7, 2023, at the age of 80. Dorie was born in Milwaukee on Aug. 13, 1943, the daughter of Joe and Lydia (Wegner) Blackburn.

Before graduating from Lake Mills High School in 1961, Dorie was active in the HS band playing the flute in the concert band and volunteering to play the base drum in the marching band (while the base drum player was playing in the Lake Mills HS football games). Also, Dorie’s first job as a teenager was as a carhop at the A & W, which she enjoyed very much.

She moved to Madison and started working at WPS (The Wisconsin Physician Service) shortly
after. Dorie was one of the first female computer programmers in the late 1970’s – making her way skillfully, forging ahead in sometimes challenging environments with her keen mind and many dear coworkers.

While working full-time and raising a family with her husband, John, she put herself through
undergraduate school, getting a degree from Edgewood College, in 1982 , earning a Bachelor
of Science in Business with a minor in Economics.

She worked at WPS until early retirement was offered. The life change freed her up to shine.

After formally retiring Dorie and John managed 2 rental homes in Door County, where Dorie did all the bookings for the first several years, managing all the promotion and booking the properties. Along with this she and John had a side antique business where, for several years, they had booths in Madison, Mt Horeb, and Cambridge .

On long visits to Door County, Dorie started getting involved with the art scene, taking classes and meeting other local artists. Naturally gifted, Dorie chose watercolor, colored pencils, pastels – her gifts with color and expression prevailed in her work. She soon earned a spot in a juried art show at the Hardy Gallery (Ephraim, Wisconsin). She also volunteered at The Hardy. She became a dedicated docent there, wrote The Hardy Gallery Docent Handbook (which is still in use today) and eventually earned an exceptional service award in 2016.

A resident of Door County during the summer and Tucson, Arizona, in the winter, Dorie appreciated the climate and community of both areas. An eventual permanent move to Tucson came in 2017. For a few of those first years in the summer, Dorie and John would get away to the White Mountains, where they would enjoy the higher elevation and cooler temperatures in NE Arizona.

Although she never complained, Dorie had to endure many procedures due to atypical
meningiomas. It certainly impacted the many gifts she had to offer and effected her health for
many years right up until her death.

Dorie was a ferocious card player – bridge being a favorite. She also enjoyed music, theater,
history, singing and traveling both with her family and with her friends. She started the “Howling at the Moon Society” and enjoyed hosting friends for the Perseid meteor shower, during her birthday in August.

Dorie had a generous heart and spirit with an enormous amount of passion and beauty (with a
large dose of laughter) that she freely shared with everyone.

Dorie will be buried in Oakhall Cemetery in Fitchburg, Wisconsin. The memorials will be held in
Tucson, Arizona; Madison, Wisconsin; and Door County, Wisconsin, all TBA. In lieu of flowers,
donations can be made to The Hardy Gallery (www.thehardy.org).