Hilda E. (Pahl) Zimmerman of Lacey, Washington passed away at 94 years of age on December 26, 2018 following a brief illness. Cared for by her loving family during her last years in Carbondale, Illinois and then Lacey, she died secure in her faith.
Hilda was born at home on November 20, 1924, in New Leipzig, ND, one of 12 children born to Bertha and Jacob Pahl. She attended country school for her first eight years and moved on to high school in New Leipzig, graduating as class Salutatorian in 1942. On September 10, 1944, she married the love of her life, Herbert Zimmerman, at the Old Leipzig Ebenezer United Congregational Church. She had long attended this church with her family and this is where she met her husband-to-be. He (with several members of his family) sang as guests at Hilda’s church confirmation and they were in each other’s hearts from that day forward.
Following high school, Herb entered Yankton College/Theological Seminary and Hilda entered Bismarck Nursing School. She left school midway to marry Herb and move to Yankton, SD, but resumed training and completed LPN certification at American Falls, Idaho. During her career she served in many roles in hospitals, nursing homes, and clinics throughout the upper Midwest. Her real calling, however, was to her beloved husband and as his helpmate in service to United Church of Christ congregations throughout the Northern Plains and West, most notably in Idaho, the Dakotas and Minnesota.
Hilda was a talented and accomplished woman. Socially skillful, she made friends easily wherever she went. She loved gardening and every yard of the twelve houses she lived in with Herb was filled with glorious flower gardens. Hilda sang in choirs, led church discussion groups, hosted visiting church and political dignitaries, filled pantries and freezers with canned and baked goods, played piano, sewed and quilted. Together she and Herb planned and personally built a large house from the ground up and she was an expert at staining/painting. Later in life she developed a strong aptitude for producing watercolor paintings.
Together their lives were characterized by great joy, endearing love and commitment and devotion to the churches they served and to the communities in which they lived. Most importantly, they shared a loving and profound dedication to each other and their children. Herb passed away in 2009, but he was never far from her thoughts.
They had five children, who survive her: Sharon Benshoff (John), Walnut Creek, CA; Judith Ellsworth (Peter), Woods Landing, WY; Douglas Zimmerman (Diane), Hendersonville, TN; Mark Zimmerman (Betty), Wolverton, MN and Pamela Firth (Robert), Lacey, WA. Her legacy will endure with her nine grandchildren, Shauna Benshoff Callow (Wesley), Alameda, CA; Kurt Zimmerman (Kimberly), Austin, TX; Luke Zimmerman (Autumn), Nashville, TN; Mark Zimmerman, Torrance, CA; Jack Zimmerman, Moore, OK; Collin Zimmerman (Randi), Duluth MN; Jared Zimmerman, Tyler, TX; Benjamin Firth, Golden, CO and Noah Firth, Olympia, WA. Her heritage will continue through the lives of her five great-grandchildren: Oren and Reid Callow (Shauna); Genevieve Zimmerman (Luke); Aurora Zimmerman (Collin) and Miriam Zimmerman (Kurt).
She was preceded in death by her husband and many of her siblings and their spouses: Earnest (Jane), Mildred, Edmond, Fred (Dorothy), Ruth (Wayne Christensen), Elmer (Ruby), Roland , Melvin, James (Frieda,), (Otto Deeg) and (Robert Krause). She is survived by two sisters: Ida Deeg (Otto), American Falls, ID and Marion Krause (Robert), Garnet Valley, PA, sister-in-law Delores Merbach (Roland Pahl) of Elgin, ND and many treasured nieces and nephews.
A service commemorating and celebrating her life will be held at the Ebenezer United Congregational Church outside of Elgin, ND on Saturday, July 13 at 10:30 am MDT. The service will conclude with internment in the adjacent cemetery. Hilda’s nephew, Rev. Edmund Zimmerman will officiate.
To find the country church turn W onto 64th St SW from ND 49N/68th Ave SW. The church will be on the right in 2.5 miles. Lunch will follow at the Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church in Elgin at 400 2nd Ave NE.
In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to The United Church of Christ Christmas Fund, which provides assistance to needy and retired clergy and their spouses. Checks made out to The UCC Christmas Fund with a notation “In memory of Hilda E. Zimmerman” can be mailed to: The Pension Boards, 475 Riverside Drive, Room 1020, New York, NY 10115. Those wishing to sign the online guest book or leave a message of condolence please go to www.funeralalternatives.org.