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Wilma R. (Bierbaum) Zimmerman

September 1, 1935 ~ April 7, 2018 (age 82)

She was born Wilma Ruth Bierbaum, the daughter of Charlie and Minnie Bierbaum, in Litchfield, Illinois, on September 1, 1935.  Her older sisters were Marie and Lois, her older brother, Charles, and her younger brother was Leon. 

She was a born romantic, and throughout her lifetime, she always, always believed in happy endings.

On February 20th, 1954, Wilma married the love of her life, Kelly Zimmerman.  As a homemaker living on their farm near Harvel, Illinois, she loved both reading and classical music.  Living far from any metropolis, she nonetheless instilled in her children a love for cultural beauty, reading to them from the time they were tiny babies, and listening to classical music throughout each day, from a radio station in St. Louis, Missouri. 

Theirs was a working farm; Wilma cooked hearty meat-and-potatoes-style dinners every evening.  Sunday afternoons were a break in the routine for everyone.  In the space of these afternoons, which represented time apart from the intensive daily  responsibilities associated with raising five children, Wilma began a foray into cooking and baking for pleasure:  recipes, menus and inspirations beyond the staple favorites of her family.  She was possessed of extraordinary culinary ability, and these adventures in cuisine became more than a way to fill the quiet hours of Sunday afternoon on the farm—they funneled her creative energy into an exceptional gift.

For all of her life, friends, neighbors and her beloved family were blessed by her extraordinary culinary talents and time. Wilma considered these hours and efforts well spent: her paradigm of a life well-lived included lavishing loved ones, friends and even relative strangers with kindness, warmth and generosity.  Delectable food made by her own hands was more than just something to eat—it was a gift of the heart.

After retiring from farming and the Zeco business in Litchfield, Illinois, Kelly and Wilma travelled for the larger part of each year.  Wilma’s mission was always the same: to be open to the people who crossed her path—whether they were fellow travelers in a cross-country caravan, mechanics working on their motorhome, or salespeople in a store.  She listened with compassion, conferred the warmth of kindness and reminded each one that we don’t travel this life alone:  we make our way with the ever-present nearness and strength of Divine help.  Wilma gave away countless copies of a small devotional book, Jesus Calling.  She felt called upon to keep a supply of these books nearby, no matter where her travels with Kelly might take them, in case she met someone who needed the message of Divine Love.

The idea of leaving this life for the next was never a fear for Wilma.  She could only see it as the best of all possible happy endings.  When she was asked, many years ago, what she would do when she crossed to Heaven, she said, “Why, I’ll run right over and climb up and sit on God’s lap!” 

Wilma is survived by family who love her dearly:  husband Kelly Zimmerman, daughter Lynne Zimmerman, daughter Julie and husband Mike Meier, daughter Susan and husband Glen Cornman, daughter Nancy and husband Richard Nunez, son Michael and wife Mari Zimmerman, brother Charles and wife June Bierbaum and by nieces, nephews, grandchildren and great-grandchildren who will always feel the light of her radiant love in their lives. 

We miss her terribly.  But she is already living her happily ever after, starting with sitting on God’s lap and telling him all about her journey.

Written by her daughter, Lynne Zimmerman


Donations may be made to:

Onward In Faith Campaign (to Benefit Zion Lutheran School)
Litchfield IL 62056

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