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Cari Lord Zimmer, nee Lewis, died gracefully on Wednesday, October 27, 2021, shortly after her 64th birthday. The greatest loves of her life included her husband of 35 years, William John, and her children, Andrew (Caitlin), Kathleen Pickett (Christopher), and Sarah, two grandchildren, Jacob and Altea, and of course her gardening. Almost every area of Martinsville, Va. was touched by her beautiful planting.

She was predeceased by her parents, Carolyn and Richard Lewis and is survived by her siblings, Robert, James (Marie) and Anne (Frank Underwood) and several nieces, nephews, cousins, one very special aunt, several “adopted” sons and daughters, and two dogs.

Before becoming Martinsville’s Flower Queen, Cari earned a degree in music therapy from the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire. She became an executive secretary and set up a customer service, and marketing department for W.H. Brady Company in Hillsboro, North Carolina.

After moving to Martinsville, Cari pursued her interest and love of gardening and landscape design. She was a true renaissance woman, well-known for her exquisite taste and fabulous cooking, especially baked goods. The use of swearing was never allowed in her kitchen, but she was known for using the triple threat while driving.

Late in life she contracted Multi System Atrophy (MSA) and finally succumbed to it. Each day brought new challenges which were met head on. Cari lived for the day as it was presented and did not complain about her “bad luck”.

The memorial service for Cari will be held on Friday, November 5, 2021 at 11 a.m., Christ Episcopal Church, with Nick Hull officiating. A luncheon reception will be held next door at the Parish House. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Christ Episcopal Church, Mountain Valley Hospice and Palliative Care, or the SPCA.

Cari leaves many friends and acquaintances to cherish thoughts of her, especially those close to her during the final years of her life. Many, many thanks are given to her doctor, Ben Lewis, very close friends, Debbie and Lucy, and compassionate caregivers, Pat and Regina.

Now, as Cari would say, go plant something!

Norris Funeral Services, Martinsville, Va. is serving the Zimmer family. Online condolences may be made at

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