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Northridge Funeral Home Ltd.
Phone: 807-482-3788
Fax: 807-482-3816
Email: northridge@sympatico.ca
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Michael
Zimmerman

March 28, 1927 – October 24, 2018

Michael Zimmerman
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— Northridge Funeral Home Ltd.

Obituary for Michael Zimmerman

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Michael Zimmerman

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Michael Zimmerman of Emo, Oct. 24, 2018, at the Rainycrest Health Centre in Fort Frances Ontario. His passing follows a year after that of his beloved wife, Elisabeth (Neitemeier) Zimmerman.

Michael was born on March 28, 1927 in the town of Tempelfeld, in the province of Silesia (then part of Germany, now part of Poland) to Theodor and Anna Zimmermann. Michael was the youngest of 6 children. As a small child, Michael spent much time in his father’s carpentry shop. After an elementary education in his village, Michael was accepted into high school where he enjoyed studying the sciences, English and Latin. WWII interrupted his education and at the age of 16 he was drafted into the military, along with his entire class. Michael was injured, returned home to recover, and then spent time at a training center as the war was drawing to a close. As the Russian forces closed in, Michael was part of a group fleeing Berlin on April 24, 1945, the date the Russians closed off the city. Michael was captured by the Americans and sent to a prison camp. After the war, Michael had no home to return to; nor did he know where his family was. His friend Hermann Vajen invited him to his home, a kindness for which he was always grateful. In the summer of 1946 through the help of the Red Cross, he learned that his family had resettled in West Germany, and the family enjoyed a happy reunion.

It was at the Vajen farm, that Michael discovered a love of agriculture. Over two winters from 1949 – 1950 he attended Agricultural College. In the spring of 1950, Michael moved closer to his family and began working on a farm. It was there that he met Elisabeth and they fell in love. Shortly afterward, he had an opportunity to come to Canada to the farm of Heinrich Holtmann in Rosser MB. He travelled to Canada on the CPR ship, Beaverbrae, landing in Quebec City on Oct. 11, 1951. Following a train trip across northern Ontario, he arrived in Winnipeg where he was met by Mr. Holtmann. He worked on the Holtmann farm, learning all he could about the Canadian dairy industry, while repaying his passage to Canada. A year later Elisabeth also came to Canada. They became engaged shortly afterward and were married in St. Joseph’s R. C. Church in Winnipeg on Oct. 1, 1953. They spent 3 ½ years in Minnedosa MB. While in Minnedosa, they were approached by a representative of the Canada Immigration Settlement Service about farms that were available in the Rainy River District for a reasonable down payment. They purchased the farm near Emo, and moved there on Mar. 31, 1957. Michael felt his big break came in 1959 when the local dairy asked farmers to convert to bulk milk coolers. Many farmers quit milking at that time, and demand was high. In 1962 he built the main barn. Over the years the farm, and his herd, Emo Holsteins, grew. Michael and Elisabeth spent 35 years on the farm before moving into a new home a mile from the original farm yard in 1992. In 2004 they moved into Emo where they enjoyed the company of many old friends and former neighbours. In June 2016, they moved to the Rainycrest Health Centre in Fort Frances.

Michael believed community service was important. Over the years, Michael represented the dairy farmers of the Rainy River District on many organizations, including the Soil and Crop Association, Federation of Agriculture, and the Ontario Milk Producers. Locally he also served on the board of the Golden Age Manor. For years he served on the board of St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church, and was a member of the Knights of Columbus. Michael encouraged his children to participate in 4H and served as a leader in the Calf Club.

Michael served on the board of the Emo Fair. Most of his efforts on the board centered around the cattle and agricultural exhibits. Michael and Elisabeth’s involvement with the Emo Fair began almost immediately after they moved to the district. Elisabeth and Michael began showing Holstein cattle in 1958, when the event was called the “Black and white show”. Cattle have been shown by the Zimmerman family every year since then and included their children, grand children, and great grandchildren. In 2012 Michael and Elisabeth were honoured as the Feature Family at the fair.

Michael firmly believed that education was the key to the future. He encouraged all his children to pursue a post-secondary education. As an advocate for agricultural education pertinent to Northern Ontario, he served on the Advisory Board of the New Liskeard College of Agricultural Technology, travelling many miles across Ontario to attend meetings.

Michael and Elisabeth welcomed members of their families from Germany and also travelled back to their homeland periodically. In 1962, Michael, Elisabeth and the 4 older children travelled back to Germany. Years later, the trip was repeated with their 4 younger children.

Michael and Elisabeth took great pride in their yard and enjoyed time spent together transforming each yard they lived in. Their home was always open to family and friends.

Michael is survived by 6 children: Theodore (Deb) Zimmerman of Emo; Elizabeth (Jonathon) Forrester of Emerson, MB; Peter (Dawn) of St. Paul Minn.; Lucille (Gary) Wilson of Devlin; Mary (Doug) Hyatt of Burriss; and Bernie (Roseanne) Zimmerman of Emo. Also mourning his loss are grandchildren: Laura, Linda, Sarah, Lisa, Brian, Curtis, Kevin, Michael, Amy, Matthew, Tina, Jeremy, Christina, Daniel, Joshua, Nathan, Rebecca, Elijah, and Vincent and 14 great grandchildren. He is also survived by 2 daughters-in-law, Cynthia and Val, and by 1 brother and many nieces and nephews in Germany.

He was predeceased by his wife Elisabeth; 2 sons, Henry and Karl, and by 2 brothers and 2 sisters.

Visitation will be held on Friday November 2, 2018, 7:30-9 p.m. at the Northridge Funeral Home, Emo, with prayers offered at 7p.m. Funeral mass will be held on Saturday November 3, 2018 at 10:30 a.m. St. Patrick’s Catholic Church Emo. Interment will take place in Barwick Cemetery. If desired memorial donations may be made by cheque to the St. Patrick’s Building Fund or Charity of choice c/o Northridge Funeral Home, Box 89, Emo, ON P0W 1E0.

To plant a tree in memory of Michael Zimmerman, please visit our Heartfelt Sympathies Store.

Visitation

When Friday, November 2nd, 2018 7:30pm - 9:00pm
Location
Northridge Funeral Home Ltd
Address
6446 Hwy 11
Emo, ON P0W 1E0
Additional Information Prayers will be offered at 7pm

Service Information

When
Saturday, November 3rd, 2018 10:30am
Location
St. Patrick's Catholic Church, Emo
Address
Emo, ON P0W 1E0

Interment Information

Location
Barwick Cemetery
Address
Barwick/Township of Chapple

Reception Information

Location
Northridge Funeral Home Reception Room
Address
6446 Hwy 11
Emo, ON P0W 1E0
Book of Memories - Northridge Funeral Home Ltd.
Proudly Serving the Communities of Rainy River, Stratton, Sleeman, Emo, Barwick, Fort Frances, Nestor Falls, Atikokan, Pinewood, Morson, and Bergland
807-482-3788 Northridge Funeral Home Ltd.
6446 Hwy 11 West
Emo, ON P0W 1E0
Fax: 807-482-3816
Email: northridge@sympatico.ca
807-482-3788 Northridge Funeral Home Ltd.
6446 Hwy 11 West
Emo, ON P0W 1E0
Fax: 807-482-3816
Email: northridge@sympatico.ca
807-482-3788 Northridge Funeral Home Ltd.
6446 Hwy 11 West
Emo, ON P0W 1E0
Fax: 807-482-3816
Email: northridge@sympatico.ca
807-482-3788 Northridge Funeral Home Ltd.
6446 Hwy 11 West
Emo, ON P0W 1E0
Fax: 807-482-3816
Email: northridge@sympatico.ca
807-482-3788 Northridge Funeral Home Ltd.
6446 Hwy 11 West
Emo, ON P0W 1E0
Fax: 807-482-3816
Email: northridge@sympatico.ca