Gayle Marie Dupre Zimmerman

Gayle Marie (Dupre) Zimmerman – wife, mother, grandmother, and special educator, ended a four-year journey with dementia in which she slowly retreated from her rich and joyful life. She did so in the company of her husband of 48 years, Dr. Emmett Zimmerman, and her three sons, Dr. Jeff Zimmerman, Chris Zimmerman, and Scott Zimmerman. Gayle passed away in her home in Mississippi on September 30, 2021. She was seventy-one years old.

 A native New Orleanian, Gayle received a degree in Special Education from the University of New Orleans in May 1972. Shortly thereafter, Gayle married Emmett and began a lifetime of adventures. In pursuit of pleasures ranging from sharing great times on the Jourdan River, being the wife of Endymion royalty, world travels including religious pilgrimages, to being parent boosters at many schools, the couple was a strong team. Over a lifetime of raising three sons, growing Emmett’s dental practice, participating in professional organizations and business ventures, Gayle was his partner, his strongest and most loyal supporter, and above all, his forever soulmate.

Along with her marriage, her complete devotion to her children and family, in 1972 Gayle also began a career as an educator. For forty-one years, she found her true vocation at Saint Michael Special School. Her academic leadership extended from younger elementary students through vocational training for young adults. Her ministry reached to all levels of academics as well as a myriad of extracurricular activities. ‘Mrs. Gayle’ walked many extra miles in service to her much loved special students. In addition to training many cheerleader squads, she worked tirelessly for Special Olympics training athletes in gymnastics and chaperoning trips to tournaments and State Games. Using her extensive background in dance, Gayle choreographed and directed numerous school Christmas plays. As a longtime member of the Saint Michael’s Guild, Gayle played active roles, usually behind the scenes, in many events including the Blue Rose Ball and the Chef’s Charity for Children. Gayle’s dedication to Saint Michael Special School, her love of the students, parents, and co-workers, her ability to face all things with humor and strong faith, were blessings to all that knew her and loved her so much.

The love and support of close friends helped tremendously in the years of Gayle’s illness. Spiritual guidance filled with prayer and understanding, lifting Gayle and Emmett up when they were down, and keeping them strong in faith when they most needed it, was always with them. Archbishop Emeritus Alfred Hughes and Archbishop Gregory Aymond, both of New Orleans, were pillars of support. The couple’s local pastor, Father Patrick (Paddy) Mockler visited daily to provide guidance and solace as the journey came to its end. Along with God’s grace, these spiritual counselors offered the invaluable gift of deepening friendship. Having such true friends was an integral part of Gayle’s ability to remain in her home for the duration of her illness. When care became close to overwhelming for the family to continue unaided, Emmett and Gayle found a gift of comfort and care through the generous acts and heart of Will Cox. His attendance to the many and varied needs of both Gayle and Emmett, any time of day or night, was offered with unending patience, fierce loyalty, and a kindness of spirit and actions that brought peace and joy to them both in these past years.  Their thanks also extend to the Notre Dame Hospice of the Archdiocese of New Orleans for their tremendous assistance during the final months of Gayle’s life. Their loving care and services made the last months more comfortable and manageable. For all these giving people, it would be impossible to adequately express their gratitude.

Gayle is survived by her husband of 48 years, Dr. Emmett Zimmerman,III, three sons, Dr. Jeff Zimmerman, Chris Zimmerman (Shandie), and Scott Zimmerman, and six much cherished grandchildren, Evan, Shelby, Hallie, Abby, Kate and Vivian Zimmerman. In addition, she is mourned by two brothers, John Montalbano (Judy) and Alvin Dupre (Connie) and a host of nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents Alvin and Mildred Dupre, her nephew Billy Montalbano, her nieces Kim Montalbano Rito (9/22/21) and Stacey Doussan (9/25/21).

A mass of Christian burial will be concelebrated on October 9, 2021, at Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Pass Christian by Archbishop Emeritus Hughes and the pastor of Most Holy Trinity, Father Patrick Mockler.      

Funeral arrangements were handled by the Edmond Fahey Funeral Services.

Interment to follow at Saint Joseph’s Abbey, Covington, Louisiana.

Please consider a donation to remember and to celebrate Gayle’s life:

Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church

“New Church Building Fund”

9062 Kiln Delisle Road

Pass Christian, MS 39571

Notre Dame Hospice, A Ministry of the Archdiocese of New Orleans

5407 Indian Hill Boulevard

Diamondhead, MS 39520

Saint Michael Special School

1522 Chippewa Street

New Orleans, LA. 70130