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Helen Amelia Zimdars


Helen Amelia Zimdars, 85, passed away peacefully after a short battle with lung cancer on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017, at Autumn Springs, her home in Billings. She had family and Gail (her best friend) by her side. She will be remembered for her kind heart, infectious laughter, and feisty sense of humor. She lived her life helping and caring for others.

A memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, March 11 at Faith Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod, 909 8th Avenue North, Glasgow.

She was born Feb. 7, 1932, in Glendive, Mont. As a child, she was quite a loner and thought she was destined to become a missionary. Her early life was not an easy one. After her parents divorced, she and several siblings lived with their father in poverty, using wooden boxes for furniture. When she was 12, she met Mrs. Jans, who she called Mother Jans. Mother Jans was her angel, providing her a place to live surrounded by five other children. Mrs. Jans provided Helen with a family atmosphere and also taught her how to take care of herself. She lived with Mrs. Jans until she married the love of her life and best friend, Ivan, at the age of 15 or 16 (She always lied about her age, so we are not quite sure on this one).

She and Ivan started out living on the Zimdars farm/ranch in Bloomfield, Mont. Their life journey took them to Glendive, Great Falls, and Fort Peck. They ultimately settled in Fort Peck where they made a home and raised six children. She loved to cook, bake (especially apple pie with lots of cinnamon), clean, garden, and to have coffee with friends. She knew the secret to life was not one's possessions or income, but to be surrounded by the people who loved her. After the kids were grown and gone, she lived for the annual Thanksgiving tradition, when her flock of children and grandkids would return to Fort Peck. She would open her home and cook for 30-40 people without a complaint, smiling and refilling plates, but as soon as everyone left, she was ready for a quick drink at the Park Grove Bar.

She and Ivan enjoyed 60 years of marriage before he passed away. She then moved to Helena to live with her daughter and son-in-law, Debbie and Ray. She lived there for six years before moving to Billings, where she could be close to her son and daughter-in-law, Dennis and Diane. Living in Billings allowed her to be closer to all of her children and Gail. She enjoyed the last two years of her life living in Autumn Springs, helping other residents, many younger but less spry than herself.

She was active and helping others to the very end, but the time arrived for her to rejoin Ivan and Doug. She was preceded in death by her husband Ivan, son Doug, son-in-law Ray, and all but two of her siblings.

She is survived by her children, Rocky Zimdars and his wife, Dede, Glasgow; Penny Murch and her husband, Lee, Glasgow; Debbie Thares, Helena; Dennis Zimdars and his wife, Diane, Billings; Lori Huff and her husband, Kevin, Butte; two brothers, Duane McCormies, Tacoma, Wash., and Donnie McCormies, Desert Hot Springs, Calif .; 14 grandchildren and 20 great-grandchildren.

Special thanks to all the staff and friends at Autumn Springs and River Stone Health and Hospice Services.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorials to River Stone Health and Hospice, 123 South 27th Street, Billings, MT 59101.

Arrangements are by Cremation & Funeral Gallery. Condolences can be sent through through "Our Families."


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