In Memory of
U.S. Marine Corps Corporal Montrose, South Dakota
McCook County

October 7, 1930 - January 4, 1954
Died non-battle, San Francisco, California



Francis (Frank) X. Zimmer was born on a farm near Montrose, South Dakota, on October 7, 1930, to Frank and Bertha Zimmer. He had one sister, Monica. Francis attended grade school at St. Ann’s, and graduated in 1949 from high school in Humboldt, South Dakota. He was involved with theater, and had been selected to go to Boy’s State during his junior year in high school. During the summers, he worked on the farm with his father. He attended South Dakota State University in Brookings, South Dakota, for two and a half years before he entered the service. He enjoyed telling jokes and stories, and especially liked baseball, having played on junior league, amateur, and SDSU teams.

In a letter to his sister, Monica, dated June 1953, he writes:

Don’t let the grind get you down. I say this because I anticipate that you should be hitting a let down just about now. Just take what comes, don’t make excuses for yourself. You and I can think of a dozen people who keep making excuses for themselves, always taking it out on everyone around them. Remember this: One can’t get ahead by pulling the other guy down. There are several examples in and out of Humboldt High School. A guy can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.

In yet another letter to his sister in the fall of 1953, Corporal Zimmer writes from Japan:

If something goes wrong, don’t lose your temper, laugh, get a good night’s sleep, and start all over. Don’t let mom get shook up, what’s going (to) happen, some bicycle run me over, maybe.

Corporal Francis X. Zimmer died January 4, 1954, in the United States. His sister, Monica, explains:

Our parents had traveled to San Francisco by bus to meet and accompany Frank home after sight seeing and visiting family and friends in Southern California. They had met at the Fairmont Hotel, had dinner together, and visited until just before midnight, when Frank thought he should return to base. Having only a ten-dollar traveler’s check, he felt he couldn’t get it changed to take a bus. So our father, Frank Zimmer, Senior, handed him a $5 bill and said, “Here is a five, just take a cab.” The next day, our parents were expecting him to come to the hotel to have dinner with them. When Frank did not come, they became worried and began to call anyone they thought might be able to help. Two days later, they found out that just prior to midnight, the cab driver had had a heart attack on the oceanside road going to the base. The cab plunged into the bay and Francis was swept into the sea. Five weeks later, a midnight call came to tell the family that Francis’s body had been found on Alameda Island.

Frank had a very sincere desire to do the right thing for all to whom he felt any responsibility. His highest priority in life was his religion. He practiced his Catholic religion most faithfully even when he was in situations that did not make it easy for him. When his body was recovered, the following items were found and returned to his parents: Rosary, prayer book and religious medals packet. The day it happened was a Sunday and he had attended Mass that morning. Even though his draft call came in the middle of his junior year in college, Frank felt it was his duty and honor to serve his country. He told his mother that if he had put in for a deferment he would always have felt guilty knowing some other guy had to take his place. He followed his conscience throughout his life. May he rest in peace.



Corporal Francis X. Zimmer was awarded the National Defense Service Medal.

Cody Zimmerman and Tyler Wolf, 7th grade, Stanley County Middle School, Fort Pierre, South Dakota, May 10th, 2004, respectfully submitted this entry. Information for this entry was provided by Monica Pruys, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, sister of Corporal Francis X. Zimmer. Profile approval by Monica Pruys.