On this page, I would like to tell you about my family. Here you will find pictures of my family and a little bit about some of my family members.
I was born in the Lankenau Hospital in Philadelphia, PA on April 10, 1929, to Barbara Shoemaker and Albert Walter Zimmermann. The shock to my parents of having a second daughter was so great that the stock market collapsed little more than 6 months later. I was doomed from the start to be a maverick. I was wall-eyed, hopelessly nearsighted and left handed. My mother was sure I would end up badly. How little did she know. Our home was on Rose Lane in Haverford, Pennsylvania, an imposing dark and gloomy house designed by the renowned Main Line architect, Walter K Durham.
I was preceded into the world by my sister, Babs, two years my senior. Pretty much wherever she led, I would follow, but 2 years behind. We went to the same schools, the same college, the same summer camp. She was a hard act to follow. About 5 and a half years after I came into the world, my brother Warren was born, followed two years later by brother Albert, Jr. My paternal grandfather, John Zimmermann, immigrated from Germany in the latter half of the 19th century. His wife was Eva Katerina Kellenbenz, also from Germany. John was a weaver and legend would have it that he worked on his loom at night and then sold his carpets from a push cart on the streets of Philadelphia during the day. He was quickly spotted by the Wasserman family who took him under their wing and he rapidly rose high in the managerial ranks of their carpet factory, Artloom. His value to the company was in his invention of a rug making process that revolutionized the carpet industry. This was truly a story of the American dream. Grandpa Z was also a bishop in the Church of the Latter Day Saints.
My father Albert was the youngest of 7 children and himself a maverick. Grandpa Z established a carpet mill, John Zimmermann Sons, in north Philadelphia for his sons and sons-in-law. My father chose not to join and founded a wool brokerage firm with his friend, John Ott. My father joined the Navy in 1942 and was stationed in Karachi then in India. He kept a detailed written and photographic record of a trip that he and two other armed forces officers made along the border of Afghanistan which is the subject of a book entitled "Proceed to Peshawar -- The Story of a U.S. Navy Intelligence Mission on the Afghan Border, 1943" published by the Naval Institute Press and written by my husband, George. My grandpa Shoemaker (William Toy Shoemaker, MD) was equally prominent in his own way. He was the Dean (today we would call him Chairman) of Ophthalmology at the University of Pennsylvania. During World War I he was the officer in charge of one of the field hospitals in France. His wife was Mabel Warren, originally from Boston and originally a Quaker. They met and married in the Swedenborgian Church in Philadelphia. My ancestors tended to espouse off beat religions. They had 6 children of which my mother, Barbara, was the 4th in age and the 2nd of 2 daughters. The youngest child, Billy, was run over by a train when he was a little boy. His brother Bob was with him. Uncle Bob never got over it.
My sister joined the CIA after her graduation from Smith College. She was stationed in Jordan for about 2.5 years and subsequently married Melvin T Johnson who had also served in the middle east. After a tour of a year or so in Yemen, they spent the rest of their married life in Radnor, PA where they brought up two wonderful daughters. Babs was active in her community, in the League of Women Voters and as a docent for 25 years at the Philadelphia zoo. The new goat walk at the zoo was recently dedicated in her memory. She was admired and loved by all who knew her. She never wavered in her support of my efforts. Mel died in 2005 and Babs in December of 2011 after a long brave battle with lung cancer. Babs and Mel have 7 grandchildren.
My brother, Warren, graduated from Yale in 1956 and married Corinne (Teeny) Chubb shortly after. He joined the foreign service, rising through the ranks to become the last US ambassador to Yugoslavia. A fairly accurate biography can be found on Wikipedia. Warren died of pancreatic cancer in 2004. Shortly before he died, he told me how much he admired me for what I was doing. My last meeting with him is something I will treasure for the rest of my life. Warren and Teeny had 3 children. Their youngest, Elizabeth (Lily) died of leukemia shortly after Warren. She had married a Yale classmate and was living in England. Warren's and Teeny's son, Warren, Jr (Tim) is a writer. His blog can be found at timzimmermann.com. Warren and Teeny have 6 grandchildren.
My brother, Al, a graduate of Harvard College and the University of Pennsylvania Medical School, recently retired as an ophthalmologist, following in the footsteps of our grandpa Shoemaker. He and his wife, Lenore, live in Flourtown, PA in a house designed by Brognard Okie. Al said, in reference to my efforts, "Zimmermanns don't lie". I am a Zimmermann. Al and Lenore have 3 daughters and 7 grandchildren.
As a whistleblower, I have had few supporters. I am happy to say that my siblings have stood staunchly behind me.
I met my husband of 56 years while I was a graduate student at Brandeis University and he was a resident in surgery at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital. I was getting a divorce from my husband of 7 years and looking after our two sons, James and David. George and I were married in July of 1960. We lived in Weston, MA for a year, then moved to Bethesda, MD where George was a Clinical Associate at the NIH and I worked on my PhD thesis. When we returned to Boston in 1963, we lived in Brookline while he finished his residency at the Brigham and I finished my thesis and worked at Brandeis as an Instructor in Biology. My best friend there was Lynn Margolis who later became known for her theory of the origin of eukaryotes. Our oldest daughter, Sarah, was born at the Naval Hospital in Bethesda on January 5, 1962 and Lana (Helena Rundall) was born in Boston on May 1, 1964. George has a web page www.georgejhill.com which tells much better than I can who he is and what he does. I have to say, however, that without his encouragement, support and belief in truth-telling I would probably never had the strength to carry on with my story.
Our oldest son, Jim Hill (nee James Warren Grover on January 5, 1954), was a rebellious teenager in the 1960's. He came back into the fold in the early 80's, graduated from Rutgers University in 1986 as a Paul Robeson Scholar and continued on to Rutgers (Newark) law school. He majored in Philosophy at RU and it was there that he met Uma Narayan, PhD, who is currently Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities and former chair of Philosophy at Vassar College. Uma and Jim own a house together in Poughkeepsie along with 5 cats. Jim is a public defender in Poughkeepsie, an avid kayaker and bicycler. He and his half-sister, Robin Grover, spend more time than any of the rest of us at our place in NH and do a wonderful job keeping it shipshape. Uma has authored and co-authored several books and is a highly regarded scholar and feminist. More can be found about her at philosophy.vassar.edu/bios/umnarayan.html, as well as on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uma_Narayan.
Our second son, David Hill (nee David Hedgcock Grover on August 29, 1955) was a poet, pianist and composer. He married Sheri Wilson in 1980 and their daughter, Heather, was born in October of 1981. Sheri and David divorced and he moved to NJ where he worked at St Barnabas Hospital in Livingston before he was stricken with a stroke that left him partially paralyzed and severely depressed. David died in January, 2004 after suffering a second stroke. Heather married Jason Haught in 2002. They have 3 children, Marcina, Landon and Christian. Heather and Jason divorced in 2013. Heather graduated from West Virginia University in Parkersburg in December, 2014 and works at the Camden Clark Wellness Center in Parkersburg as Aquatics Director.
Our daughter Sarah, born January 5, 1962, is Associate Professor of the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, MI. She has traveled widely to explore the cultural aspects of garbage and waste disposal including trips to Cuba and Canada. More about Sarah can be found at http://homepages.wmich.edu/~shill/. Her spouse, Megan Reynolds, is Managing Attorney at Legal Services of South Central Michigan. Megan made a life-long commitment to social justice after witnessing the problems faced by poor immigrant women when she was the youngest certified midwife in the US in her late teens. Megan and Sarah have two daughters, Georgia and Rosie.
Our daughter Lana works for T. Rowe Price in Baltimore, MD. She is Senior Lead Consultant, Enterprise Learning, Human Resources | Learning, Culture, & Organizational Effectiveness, also a dedicated cyclist, runner and has run a number of marathons.
We adopted Ripken, our Cavalier King Charles spaniel, a little over two years ago. He had been abandoned and then slipped a disk when he was rescued. He is nine years old but still very much the puppy. Every family needs one of those.
Copyright 2012: Helene Z Hill. Medical Cover Up. All rights reserved.
Truth even unto its innermost parts