Helen Marie Zimmerman (née Garlock) was born November 9, 1928 to Stella Mae (née Miller) and Charles Wesley Garlock at their home in Anita, Iowa and died on September 19, 2022, shortly after being diagnosed with cancer. She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Warren; and a son, Scott; and survived by a daughter, Diane (David), son, Richard (Annette), and son, Steven (Jackie), 15 grandchildren, and 38 great-grandchildren.
Helen attended school in Anita and later Norwalk, Iowa and graduated from high school at the top of her class of three! She attended Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa, earning her associate’s degree in education.
Helen began her teaching career in Eldora, Iowa in 1948 where she met her future husband, Warren “Zim” Zimmerman, who was the local junior high school principal. Helen and Zim began dating in 1949 and were married June 4, 1950, in Eldora.
The Zimmermans moved to Rochester, Minnesota in the fall of 1950 where he became the principal of Hawthorne School and served in several other elementary schools in his 34-year career with the Rochester Public School District. Helen gave birth to a daughter, Diane Rae, in October 1952; a son, Richard K, in April 1954; a son, Scott Alan, in July 1955; and a son, Steven Lee, in July 1957 – four children in less than five years.
Helen enjoyed being a stay-at-home mom, saying those were the happiest years of her life. She was able to apply her teaching skills to raising children – reading to them, playing music, playing games, and teaching them good behavior and good values. As the kids went off to elementary school, she honed her household routines to get the housework done efficiently and get lunch on the table when the kids came home at noon.
Volunteering filled out her time as the children required less of it. She taught Sunday school for 15 years, did lay visitation for the church, and was a hospital volunteer at the Methodist Hospital beginning in the early 1960s, continuing until the program was suspended for Covid.
Helen and Zim retired to Charter House in 2004, an institution they had been involved in planning in the 1980s. She was also on the Welcoming Committee, enabling her acquaintance with the residents at Charter House and facilitating the friendships that she cherished. They lived happily at Charter House enjoying contract bridge and many other activities with friends. She also delighted in the daily crossword puzzle, which she continued even in hospice.
Helen will be remembered as friendly, loving, funny, and kind, yet reserved, strong-willed, honest, and stoically self-reliant. She and Zim dearly loved and cherished one another for over 60 years until he passed in January 2019. Helen bravely carried on without him for another three years, yearning for the day when they would be reunited for eternity.
The memorial service will be 10 a.m. Saturday, October 15, 2022 at Christ United Methodist Church (400 5th Ave SW Rochester, MN). Visitation will be 4 to 6 p.m. Friday, October 14th at Mahn Family Funeral Home – Rochester Chapel, and one hour prior to the service at the church. In lieu of flowers, Helen would prefer contributions to Christ United Methodist Church or Mayo Clinic Hospice. Online condolences are welcome and may be shared at mahnfamilyfuneralhome.com.