Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Measure of A Great Man...

I am very honored to have been asked to write a tribute to a great man, and someone who has been one of my most cherished friends since childhood, Jason Frederick Zimmerman. I realize that my readers here may not know him. But I have chosen to post this here regardless, for me, and for him.

Jason has led an amazing life and developed many beautiful talents: photography, guitar, teaching, drawing (in his youth), writing, acting… Volumes can be written about these talents and many others that he developed throughout his life. It seemed that whatever Jason does, he does it well. But the talent I think of most when I think of Jason is one that I continually witnessed in his character when we were kids. Because I spent most of my time with him in our youth, I will take you back in time and give you a glimpse of him in his beginnings…

Letters, cards, a poster and a banner... He spoiled me! :)
Jason was an incredibly sweet kid. He had a crush on me when we were kids (beginning about 10-12, and yes, I fell for him later on). I hadn't grown into boys yet, so when he would give me little love notes I would burn them in the fireplace. The notes kept coming, and eventually mom talked me into keeping them; she said I would later enjoy looking back on them, so at about age 12, I started keeping the letters. Mom was right. I cherish those sweet letters still. :) I could never mention this before, so as to not embarrass him, but I don't think he will mind now. These letter are precious. He is precious. He was such a sweet boy with an incredibly big heart.

Jason had a knack for making others happy. I don't think he could stand to not be there for others… Uplifting, Serving, Encouraging, Sacrificing, Giving, and Forgiving…This is how Jason lived his life. He did it in his professional life. He did it in his personal life. I wonder how many people, like myself, counted HIM as their best friend BECAUSE NO ONE TREATED THEM BETTER or LOVED THEM MOORE THAN HE DID!

My favorite photo of him when we were 15
Looking back, Jason was the center of a small circle of very close friends that I was blessed to be a part of. He was the highlight of our lives! I looked forward to mutual each week - more for the time I would spend outside with him after the planned activity than for mutual (and I loved mutual!). He was so expressive and animated, and that drew me to him. I love the way he could come up with something cleaver and witty in an instant and made me laugh! His sense of humor is INCREDIBLE! He could have me laughing so hard I couldn't breathe! I also LOVE his enthusiasm; I am thankful to have caught it, and consider it my greatest asset; I will one day thank him for that. :D There are other things I also strive to emulate from my associations with Jason.

Jason has a way of making everyone feel special and important. He treats everyone with politeness and utmost respect. He always looked for the best in others. He was always smiling, always teasing, and always lifting the downward lips of others. And for as long as I have known him, Jason has been very quick to forgive. I recall the quarrels a friend and I had with each other in our youth. Jason was always the mediator who smoothed things out between us. Looking through an old letter he wrote to me I was reminded of his brief and gentle plea that I not be angry with her. His love and friendship are completely unconditional. Though we were both very young at this time, (and he was only 6 months older than me and treated me more than equal), he became, not only my best friend, but also my mentorI will forever strive to be more like him!

About 15 yo... He was so good to me!
Jason’s empathy and kindness allowed him to know what others were going through, and he found creative ways to uplift and help his friends when we needed it most. If anyone was sad, he could be counted on to cheer them up and bring a smile to their face. I was delighted to find him continue this as an adult; I noticed that he used his blogging as another creative means to send uplifting messages to friends in their time of need. And I KNOW he will continue to bless the lives of others and find great joy in doing so.

In addition to the finely tuned character traits mentioned above, Jason always strove to do the right thing. Being a good person was always important to him. When things got hard and he felt the pressures of teen life on his shoulders, he would tell me of his struggles, expressing his desire to always do the right thing. And he always did. Sometimes he wrote me letters about his righteous desires. When he saw friends begin to sin, it was stressful for him because he cared so much about his friends, and hoped he would not make the same mistakes. His determination to do what is right has always been contagious and inspiring. I am a better person today because of his example and love him for it! :D

I found in my pile of old letters from Jason a poem titled “The Measure of Man.” I smiled as I read it, and then cried like a baby as I thought of how appropriate it was that I stored it with his childhood letters. I’d like to leave you this poem; along with the hope that the reflection of Jason’s life will leave us all inspired to stand a little taller…

The Measure of Man

Not – “How did he die?”
But – “How did he live?”
Not – “What did he gain?”
But – “What did he give?”

These are the units to measure the worth
Of a man, as a man, regardless of birth.

Not – “What was his station?”
But – “Had he a heart?”
And – “How did he play his God-given part?”

Was he ever ready with a word of good cheer?
To bring back a smile, to banish a tear?

Not – “What was his church?”
Nor – “What was his creed?”
But – “Had he befriended those really in need?”

Not – “What did the sketch in the newspaper say?”
But – “How many were sorry when he passed away?”
 Lillian B Rose

I know there are masses weeping over the temporary loss of the presence of Jason Frederick Zimmerman. All who know him love and respect him. I know I speak for many in saying that we sincerely thank our Father in Heaven for Jason's continued existence and the profound, eternal influence for good that he continues to have on so many.

Thank you Jason, for your legacy of seeing and bringing out the beautiful… not only through photographs, but especially in people. I hope you are blessed to read this from above. Know that you are dearly loved by many and continue to have a profound impact for good… Know that in our book, you measure very tall. :) Know that we love you, and that some will cease to fear death, knowing that you will be on the other side to greet them when they arrive. Thank you for being you. We love you Jason Fredrick Zimmerman!!!


  1. This is so beautiful Corine! I am so glad you wrote this. Thank you!!

    He is a great man and as I read this, I smiled. As an adult, he has not changed.

    I was laughing the other day with a friend telling her how he would frustrate me because he wouldn't let me stay sad. I'd try to complain and he would encourage me to look around and see the good and the beauty. I just wanted to wallow!!! But, he wouldn't let me. :D

    I miss him terribly. My whole family does. I too am grateful that this isn't all. We'll see him again and the laughs will continue.

    What a tremendous tribute Corine!

  2. Thank you, Rachel! :D And I so agree. I was so happy to find him again as an adult and see repeated evidence that he is truly the same great person he always was! :) I feel for your whole family, to have been such a huge part of his life and now have so much to miss; you are in my prayers... I KNOW there will be MANY reunions waiting for Jason as the rest of us cross over to the other side.

    PS. I laughed when I read your comment about him not letting you be sad; that is so me! :D He is probably to blame! ;) I'm so glad he rubbed off on me! :D

  3. Yes, when we meet again, we will have much to catch up on.

    There are many good things that he has taught me that I am grateful have rubbed off on me. :) I hope that I continue to pay tribute to him by continuing to emulate his goodness.

  4. Beautifully written. Nice Job.

  5. Beautiful. Thank your for sharing this. He talked about you often. The last time I saw him we were sitting with some other friends and watching "Calamity Jane" - which he said he'd never seen before. When it came to the point where Calamity sings "Secret Love" Jason got this funny look on his face and said, "This is SO familiar... but I can't think of why..." Then he thought for a few more minutes and said, "Wait a minute! Corine sent me this when we were younger... I always thought she wrote it just for me..." Then he laughed and said he'd have to give you a hard time about it sometime. My thoughts are with you."

  6. Last year he was my teacher in 5th grade. It was the same summer my great grandpa died then a week before 6th grade Mr.Z died. He was the best teacher ever. I wish he was still here with us.

    1. Dear Fish, I'm so happy that you got to have Mr.Z for a teacher in 5th grade! :D ~ He really is a GREAT teacher and friend. :) I will always love him, and I'm sure you will too. Just as sure as I am that he will keep on being the loving kind person he always has been. Keep your happy memories of him and keep smiling...
      Corine :D


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