Raymond T. Zillmer, 1887-1960

Publication Year: 1961.


Raymond T. Zillmer, prominent attorney and conservationist died on December 13, 1960. He was a graduate of the University of Wisconsin (A.B., 1910), where he also was granted law and doctor’s degrees. During 1912–14 he was on the faculty, teaching political science. After 1914 he practiced law in the firm of Zillmer & Redford.

He was a member and past president of the Milwaukee County Bar Association, and a frequent contributor to legal publications. During World War I he served in the Judge Advocate Department of the Army. He was president of the City Club of Milwaukee, 1938–1940.

Zillmer joined the Alpine Club of Canada in 1931, was elected to the American Alpine Club in 1942, and was also a member of the Sierra Club. He had been president of the Izaak Walton League of Milwaukee, and in 1933 received the Broughton Award and was named “Man of the Year” by the Izaak Walton State League for his work in conservation in the development of the Kettle Moraine State Park. During the past two years he had devoted much time to an expanded concept of a Wisconsin Ice Age National Park. In his will he left funds for five shelters along the main hiking trail in the Kettle Valley State Forest.

Zillmer’s only major ascents in the United States were Mount Rainier in 1924 and Longs Peak at a later date. He climbed Vignemale in the Pyrenees in 1936. Exploration and the elucidation of new country were more important in his eyes than mere climbing, and he carried out punishing journeys at an age when many another would have sought easier activity. In 1938, he and Lorin Tiefenthaler followed Alexander Mackenzie’s trail in British Columbia from the Fraser River to Bella Coola on the coast. In 1941 they explored the northern part of the Monashee Range. Zillmer made four arduous expeditions in the Cariboo Range (1939–45–46– 47), the last of these with his son, John, being the first crossing of the range lying east of the Raush River and the North Thompson. Mount Zillmer, in the Cariboos, bears his name.

His widow, two sisters, a son and a daughter survive him.

J. Monroe Thorington