In memory of

Mary J. Zimmerman, age 84, of Helena

August 31, 1930 – November 4, 2014

 Mary Jane Zimmerman passed away November 4, 2014, in Helena at the age of 84. She was born August 31, 1930 in Helena, Montana, the daughter of Vincent and Grace Holdgrapher.

Mary was an accomplished pianist. During her grade school years, Mary walked to piano lessons from the Sisters of Charity before school and played frequently for weekday mass before starting school for the day. After graduating from St. Helena High School, Mary received a scholarship to attend St. Mary’s college in Leavenworth, Kansas. As a young lady she shared her love for music with her then boyfriend, Joe Zimmerman. They often played music for high school dances and other such occasions. Mary played the organ during church services at both St. Helena’s Cathedral and St. Mary’s church. During her high school years, Mary received the distinct honor to play the Great Organ at the Cathedral for special mass services.

On August 30, 1951, she married the love of her life, Joseph John Zimmerman. They were married for 63 incredible years raising 5 children. Mary was a committed and dedicated wife, mother, grandmother and great grandma.

Mary enjoyed a full and wonderful life. Together, Joe and Mary started a residential rental management business some 60 years ago. Starting with nothing, they built a successful rental and construction business. Over the years, Mary would express the great joy she received from watching Joe as he was embarking on yet, another building project. She remained very active alongside her husband in managing their rental properties and later on a flourishing real estate appraisal business.

Mary and Joe shared many common interests. They loved their animals- their schnauzers, quarter horses and herds of cattle. They enjoyed hunting for sapphires and camping with family. Mary was famous in our family for her courage in fending off a black bear with a small dead pine tree, protecting both her sister and their children.

Mary also received great enjoyment being involved with all of her children’s lives. From being a den mother for a boy scouts troop, attending school events, to traveling the quarter horse show circuit to watch her children compete. As her grandchildren came into her life she enjoyed hearing of about their school projects, academic achievements and sporting competitions.

Mary is survived by her loving husband Joseph, her sons, Michael, Terry, Vince and Jeff and her daughter, Karen, her daughter in laws Gail and Tammy and her son in law, Stephen Durgin. Mary is also survived by her sister Kim Simpkins, brother in law, Les, grandchildren Kelly, Julie, John, David, Tim, Steven, Teresa, Kevin, James, Alicia, Lee Anne, Greg and Philip Durgin and 9 great grand children. Mary’s beloved grandson, Bryan Zimmerman, preceded her in death.

A viewing will be held from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m., Monday, November 10th, at Retz Funeral Home, 315 E. 6th Ave., Helena, MT 59601, with a rosary at 6:00 p.m., Monday, November 10th, at Retz Funeral Home.   A funeral Mass will be held at 12:00 p.m., Tuesday, November 11th, at the Cathedral of St. Helena, 530 N. Ewing St. Helena, MT 59601. Burial will immediately follow the funeral Mass, at Resurrection Cemetery. A reception will follow back at the Cathedral in the Brondel Center, lower level. In lieu of flowers, donations can be sent to St. Helena Cathedral for outreach services at 530 N. Ewing St., Helena, MT 59601.  Please visit below to offer the family a condolence or to share a memory of Mary Jane.



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  1. Joannie Pritchard says

    The Time I got to Know Mary She was Very Amazing Full of So Much Love , I Really Enjoyed Being Her Care Giver

  2. Sara Margie Graveley and Kaila Knigge says

    Vince, Terry and family ;
    My thoughts and prayers are with you all.. your mom sure was an incredible lady. I remember how your face lit up Vince, every time you talked about her! Sending you lots of love and hugs.

  3. Sandi Coyle Benson says

    Vince, Terry & Mike;
    Know you are all in my thoughts and prayers. May the days ahead bring all of you peace and understanding. “God Bless”

  4. Jennifer Paddock says

    Mike, Gail and family;

    My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

  5. Donna Coman says

    Terry, Mike & families
    I am so sorry for your loss. My prayers are with you & your families.
    Donna Coman

  6. Jo Ann Jones says

    Terry, I know I haven’t seen you much since I left AFSB. I am so very sorry for your loss. She sounded like such a wonderful lady. My prayers are with you and your family.

  7. Merry Lou Casteel says

    To Mike, Gail and Family, we are sorry for your loss, lots of happy times to remember. Love , Merry Lou and Jack

  8. Rose Elllen Dempsey says

    To: Joe, Mike, Terry, Vince, Karen, Jeff, and entire Zimmerman family.
    Please accept our sincere condolences for the loss of Mary.
    How we remember her for her kindness, and caring ways. We will always remember
    her at the horse shows helping anyone, and everyone, all the while cheering for her
    children that were competing in the arena. She was a very sweet lady.
    We can still hear someone’s voice above the din of the crowd at the horse shows,
    “Mother Mary!” Off she would go to help someone; and if you were in the bleachers
    and needed something, she had it right there in her purse. Thanks so much Mother
    Mary! Prayers, and may God heal all your broken hearts.
    Steve and Rose Ellen Dempsey

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