Jerry Allen Zimmer

Date of Birth

January 1, 1938

Date of Death

September 2, 2015

On Wednesday, September 2, 2015, Jerry Allen Zimmer took his last breathe in the comfort of his own home, surrounded by his three daughters, his former wife and his dog, Jack. Though his death gives us tremendous sadness, we also celebrate an amazing life that was lived to the fullest.

Allen, aka “Zimmer,” was born in 1938 in Burbank, California. While of modest and humble beginnings, he found his way to Cal Poly at San Luis Obispo where, combining his passion for design and a lot of hard work, he earned a B.S. degree in Architectural Engineering. By happenstance, he answered an ad for a draftsman and in 1963, moved with his new wife, Holly Principe Joseph to begin his life in Santa Barbara. Ten years later, he established his own architectural firm, Architects West, where he would, for the next forty years, design countless number of award winning professional, municipal and residential properties in and around the Santa Barbara area. Among his proudest accomplishments was remodeling the Santa Barbara Public Library in 1980. This achievement propelled his career forward and paved the way for his design of other many notable buildings including the Santa Barbara Golf Course Clubhouse, the Goleta Library, several City Fire Stations, recreational buildings at Chase Palm Park and Mackenzie Park, downtown City Parking structures and the award winning parking structure at Santa Barbara City College, to name a few. Allen was a Past President of AIA Santa Barbara and was instrumental in establishing the Domingo Walking Tour for the Architectural Foundation of Santa Barbara.

In addition to designing many beautiful buildings around the Santa Barbara area, Allen also realized the dream of building his own home in the hills of Santa Barbara in which he raised his family. In 2002, Allen purchased a Historic Adobe originally constructed in the 1840’s, Las Casas Arellanes. He was proud to take on the challenge of repairing and preserving the Adobe to its original historic style and enjoyed opening his home to friends, family and the community.

A measure of a man’s life can never be fully expressed in words, nor can it be described the same way for each person who knew him or was touched by him. Allen’s life is no different. He loved – and lost. He laughed – and cried. He succeeded – and failed. He had moments of pure joy – and moments of painful sorrow. He was compassionate – and he was judging. He was free – and he was burdened. But, always – Allen was giving and passionate about life. Allen was known for his incredible timing in which he could offer staggering wisdom, political insight or a corny joke that would make you laugh despite yourself. Allen was an avid golfer with the Los Paisanos at the Santa Barbara Golf Club, a bridge player, a lover of theater and all types of music and, in his later years, a voracious traveler to places all over the globe.

Allen’s retirement enabled him to expand his eclectic interests in a variety of fields. He was proud to serve on the Santa Barbara County Grand Jury for three years and he joined a writing class in which he reflected on his life in often humorous and sometimes poignant stories. His decades-long membership to the New Yorker Magazine led to joining the New Yorker discussion group, where his quiet remarks following a vigorous and noisy debate by the other participants, would often bring a stunning light of insight to the proceedings. Allen’s membership in Vistas for Lifelong Learning introduced him to numerous opportunities he would have not attempted otherwise. Allen was a long-time member of the Humanist Society of Santa Barbara and an active pacifist.

Allen is survived by his children: Kirsten Zimmer Deshler (Terry Zimmer Deshler), Maud Zimmer (Bob Demerle), Augden Zimmer, Former wife, Holly Principe Joseph, and sister, Judy “JJ” Jappay, who he loved very much and who was a great support; his five grandchildren: Grace Etta, Calvin Joseph and Griffin Allen Deshler and Ibarra Isabella, Zetana Audrey Demmerle and his dear friend and partner in all things, Shirley Diamond.

Allen believed…“Life is not measured by the breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.” George Carlin He lived his life this way and he continues to take our breath away with the legacy he left behind.

We would like to most profoundly thank Assisted Home Health and Hospice Care for their kindness and expert care during the final month of Allen’s life and the great support they have provided the family. We especially thank Tejsvie Pattani, RN and Kitty Glanz, MSW. We also thank Dr. Daniel Greenberg of the Cancer Center and Dr. William Koonce for their care.

A memorial Service will be held for Allen Zimmer on Thursday October 15th, 2015 in the Mural Room at the Santa Barbara Courthouse. The memorial will begin promptly at 3pm followed by a nearby reception. For details on the reception, please call: 805 963-4800 or email his daughter, Maud at:


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