Chaim H. Zimbalist, 87; first Jewish legislator from district

Chaim H. Zimbalist

BY ROBERT A. COHN, Editor-in-Chief Emeritus

Chaim H. Zimbalist, a prominent St. Louis attorney and former member of the Missouri House of Representatives died on Friday, Nov. 27 in New Jersey, where he had resided since 2010.

Mr. Zimbalist represented the fourth legislative district of St. Louis County, serving in the 68th and 69th General Assemblies.  He was the first Jew and he first Democrat elected from that district and the only first-termer to be awarded the chairmanship of a sub-committee, that of Probation and Parole.

During his tenure in public service, Mr. Zimbalist introduced and steered to passage a wide range of state statutes, including those that established Divisions 7 and 8 of the St Louis County Circuit Court; authorizing testamentary disposition of bodies to medical schools and hospitals; mandating stricter requirements for better patient care in nursing homes, and authorizing suspended impositions of sentences.

Mr. Zimbalist’s law practice in St. Louis spanned six decades, during which he was a confidant and adviser to governors, U.S. senators and congressmen.  He presented testimony in the U.S. House of Representatives hearing on Electoral College Reform in 1969.

Chaim Herman Zimbalist was born in St. Louis on May 3, 1928, the son of Morris and Rose Stuhlman Zimbalist. He graduated from Soldan High School in 1944.  He received his undergraduate degree from Washington University in 1948 and his law degree from Washington University School of Law in 1951.

Mr. Zimbalist served in the U.S. Navy during World War II, earning an honorable discharge in 1946. 

Survivors include his wife of 60 years, Marilyn Goldenberg Zimbalist; sons Michael and Rabbi Morris Zimbalist; a daughter, Alisa Zimbalist Levine; a brother, Daniel Zimbalist and a sister, Alene Wiseman and seven grandchildren.

Funeral services were held Tuesday at Congregation B’nai Amoona, where Rabbi Carnie Shalom Rose and Cantor Sharon Nathanson officiated.

Memorial contributions preferred to Congregation B’nai Amoona or to the American Society for Technion.