Dr. Gordon A. Zimmerman, 56, who practiced medicine in the Falls Church area for nearly 25 years until he retired two years ago, died of cancer Sunday at his home in Falls Church.

He had been chief of family practice at Arlington Hospital and on the staffs of Fairfax Hospital and Northern Virginia Doctors Hospital.

Dr. Zimmerman was born in British Columbia, the son of Swiss parents. He grew up in Arlington. He was a graduate of Gonzaga High School in Washington and Georgetown University.

During World War II, as a pilot with the Army Air Forces, he was shot down in Europe and was held in a German prison camp for a year. He received the Air Medal and Purple Heart.

After the war, he earned a degree from Georgetown University Medical School. He took his residency in internal medicine at Providence Hospital. s

Dr. Zimmerman was a member of the Fairfax County Medical Society, the Medical Society of Virginia and the American Medical Association. He belonged to the American Legion.

He had been the physician for athletes at Bishop O'Connell High School in Arlington for many years.

He is survived by his wife of 32 years, June C., of Falls Church; a son, Dr. Gordon, of Hartford, Conn.; two daughters, Cecialia Z. Koons and Denise M. Zimmerman, both of Falls Church; his mother, Katherine Zimmerman, of Arlington; four brothers, Harry, of Alexandria, William, of Wilmington, Del., Emile, of Falls Church, and Robert, of Rockville, and four grandchildren.