Evelyn J. (Guske) Zimmer

Evelyn Zimmer Photo0001 Evelyn J (Guske) Zimmer, 88, of Moscow, ID died Friday evening, February 2, 2018, from the aftermath of a severe stroke in her home. Evelyn was never alone during the three weeks following her stroke as family, especially her beautiful daughters, and friends kept vigil.

Deeply rooted in Palouse dirt, descended from the homesteading Guske Farm family of Lacrosse, WA, Evelyn was born in Colfax, WA on May 26, 1929 to Joseph and Tillie Guske. At the early age of seven, in 1937, she lost her mother to flu and pneumonia. Her father remarried a year later, and Veva, Joseph’s new wife became mother to Evelyn and her siblings. Evelyn married her high school sweetheart, Jack Zimmer, in 1949, when they moved to Colfax and operated the Top Notch Cafe together for a time before Jack embarked on a long career in the automobile business. Selling cars and bearing children, Evelyn and Jack labored adding ten more to the local Colfax population before an opportunity led them to Moscow and their own automobile dealership, Zimmer Motor Company. Tragically, her eleventh child, Joseph, was stillborn.

Evelyn raised those ten, often troublemaking, children in Colfax and Moscow ensuring, along with Jack, that all ten graduated from high school and, as it happened, all ten graduated from the University of Idaho where she and Jack were honored by the University for that accomplishment. The near empty nest allowed Evelyn to work at Zimmer Motor Company as an assistant bookkeeper where she enjoyed the work and social interaction with customers. Evelyn suddenly lost her husband, Jack, in January 1989 as they planned for semi-retirement. Two weeks later, she also lost her father, Joseph. Veva, Evelyn’s second mother, died in 1996.

Evelyn lived independently and quietly as she wanted. She loved having her large family all around her but enjoyed her time alone also. Her ‘old-school’ life taught her to dig in and work, to do what needed to be done, to live. Her gains in life gave her softness and her losses a harder edge. Described as a ‘mother of all mothers’, Evelyn helped care for her siblings; raised her children; helped raise her grandchildren; watched out for and helped her neighbors and friends with anything needed; volunteered at Moscow Food Bank; had legendary knowledge of family connections, her own and many others, all over Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho; actively assisted fellow church congregants and the church itself; walked with many to the endings of their lives.

As a 54.5 year member of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Moscow, Evelyn’s faith gave her strength, solace, compassion, and her moral compass. She herself would admit she was no saint, but Evelyn’s generosity, tempered with her own common sense, and her kindness abounded. Evelyn was no push-over. She could be harsh, a tough disciplinarian, but someone who questioned themselves and their own actions, and she was as accepting as they come. In short, Evelyn was a great human woman with all strengths and weaknesses included.

Evelyn is survived by her ten children and their partners: Kathy (Dennis) Luvaas of Boise, ID; John (Bronwyn) of Gales Ferry, CT; Claudia (Terry) Lande of Bainbridge Island, WA; Robert (Lara) of Seattle, WA; Richard (Melanie) of Moscow, ID; Thomas (Jennifer) of Moscow, ID; Teresa (Paul) Hjorten of Kenmore, WA; James (Carolyn) of North Andover, MA; Rosemary (Bill) Helbling of Moscow, ID; and, Fred (Laurel) of Seattle, WA. In addition, Evelyn is survived by 23 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren, with another on the way.

As the oldest of eight siblings, Evelyn is survived by Lorraine McGuire of Philadelphia, PA; Lester (Jenell) Guske of Lacrosse, WA; Carolyn (Larry) Hattemer of Edwall, WA; Marilyn Webb of St John, WA; Rose Marie (Roger) Parsons of Boise, ID: Barbara (Dan) Mainord of Nampa, ID; and Joe Guske of St John, WA. Surviving Evelyn also are 32 nieces and nephews and, losing count, a bunch of grand-nieces and nephews.

There will be a rosary at 10:30 AM, Saturday, February 10, 2018, prior to the Funeral Mass at 11:00 AM at St Mary’s Catholic Church in Moscow, ID.

Evelyn will be put to rest in that Palouse dirt she loved at Moscow Cemetery next to her husband Jack and son Joseph. A luncheon and time of fellowship will follow.

Our family asks that charitable contributions be made to the Jack and Evelyn Zimmer Scholarship Endowment at the University of Idaho; the St Mary’s School Foundation; Moscow Food Bank; or a charity of your choice.

Arrangements are under the direction of Short’s Funeral Chapel, Moscow, and online condolences may be sent to www.shortsfuneralchapel.net.

15 Responses to Evelyn J. (Guske) Zimmer

  1. Christy Williams says:

    My condolences to Rose, Sara and Steph on the loss of your Mom and Grandma. I will be sending a contribution to the school foundation in honor of your Mom.

    Christy Williams

  2. Sarah Russell Berryman says:

    I read of your mother’s passing in the newspaper. Raising ten children, and having all of them attend the U of I is quite an accomplishment. I wish you all comfort and peace on the loss of your mother, but as she has gone on to her reward in heaven, also joy.

  3. Nancy Olson Russell says:

    To Kathy, Denny and all,
    As part of the Russell Family, we had seats behind your mom (and Dad) and then, the kids, for many years in the Kibbie Dome, for football games.
    Always fun to visit and enjoy the uplifting natural of your mother’s conversation and her smile.
    May peace be with you, one and all.

  4. Mark Keating says:

    So sad to hear of Evelyn’s passing, she was always so kind to us and my memories of all of our time together are very dear. I have become friends with Al Zimmer in Oregon and have enjoyed some good memories with him as well. Take care all our prayers are with you.

  5. Suzanne Scripter says:

    Tom and extended families,

    So sorry to learn of Evelyn’s passing. Loved walking past Winnie and Evelyn’s homes and finding them working
    in the yards or just visiting. Such special friendship they had. Last time I saw your Mother, she waited after
    church until I recognized her! Good last visit for me to remember. Loved her smile!
    My sympathies to all,

  6. Bill Snyder says:

    Please accept my sincerest condolences on the passing of your wonderful Mom. She is truly a great lady. Her legacy of love is evident in the lives of all of her children. I have many fond memories of hours spent at your home, especially snickerdoodles, football in the backyard, listening to the Mamas and the Papas on the stereo and rides on the back of the Honda Trail 90 with your Dad, going really fast. No kid was ever a stranger at your house-we always felt very welcome. I will always look back on those days as being a huge part of my life and I am much better for it. Thanks for all those joyous memories.
    May you find peace and comfort in the days ahead. Without a doubt, your Mom left the world a far better place and we are blessed to have known her.

  7. Janice Corey says:

    Evelyn was always one of my favorites of all my parents neighbors. I called her the raspberry lady because that’s usually where I saw her, out back in the soil. She and my dad often had talks across the property line talking about all sorts of things. He spoke of her often and considered her a good friend. As I’ve gotten older I got the chance to know her in my own right too. I’m going to remember her laugh, her joy, her accessibility and openness to people. Unfortunately, we can’t make the service, but we will always remember her so fondly. She loved her family and friends in a way that we all should aspire to do. Janice and Betty Corey

  8. Kathryn Cox says:

    I never knew your mother, but I watched you, her children, care for her and be with her in her final days. She reminded me of my mother. They were both strong women who loved their children, loved being a grandmother, but were also able, to raise responsible adults. My heart goes out to you but know she is in a better place with God.

  9. Susan Guske Delles says:

    When I think of your mom, I picture her standing in front of church laughing with my folks. She always seemed so relaxed and calm. She appeared to have time for everyone and whatever committee they wanted her on. As a kid I was sure she had a full time maid/driver to help with everything. I’m still in awe. She will be missed.

  10. John Snyder says:

    Since reading Evelyn’s well-crafted obituary I’ve been thinking about what is quite a remarkable story: working hand-in-hand with Jack, raising ten estimable children, bearing the loss of another, going forward with faith and devotion and serving others throughout her life—tending her yard and garden. I remember being kind of nervous around Evelyn as a kid (as I was around most adults, including Jack). I often saw her going to and from the house in a maroon station wagon—was it a Buick or a Pontiac? Once I had the chance to ride in it myself. I was walking somewhere, probably sometime in junior high, and she offered me a ride. She smiled and talked some as we drove back up to Ridge Road and added a word to my vocabulary, calling the car her “jitney bus.” Though the term has always stayed in my mind, I actually didn’t look it up until yesterday. But it’s fitting for a busy mom: “a small bus that carries passengers over a regular route on a flexible schedule.”

    As I’ve thought about it, the Zimmer and Snyder families have the longest continuous presence on Ridge Road of any I can think of—since we both arrived in 1965. (The Chavezs are latecomers, of course, after moving from Chinook in the early 2000s….) In the years I was away from Moscow, it was nice to know that Evelyn was there in her nicely tended house and yard, mowing the lawn herself until recent years. Since returning, I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to visit and get to know her better. As a student of the Palouse Region, I can appreciate that she grew up in Hay. Trick-or-treating has been fun each year as she’s come to the door with the spider the that plays eerie music hanging from her wrist, or is it bat? She has always seemed genuinely happy to see us and we’ve been able to catch up on her a little. I’ll miss Evelyn and I’m sorry for your loss. Losing parents is a rough transition, but the store of memories helps take the edge off as time goes by. I hope that’s true for all of you as well. Jack and Evelyn have left a great legacy in our town, especially through their children. Having the Zimmers here has also lent a sense of continuity and stability to our street. I hope the welcome sounds of conversation and laughter will continue to drift through the neighborhood on summer evenings! I like to watch the cars arrive and try to figure out who’s here from the license plates—and occasionally crash the party.

  11. Jen Seegmiller says:

    I’m so sad to hear of Evelyn’s passing. It was a joy to get to know her and your family and an honor to witness the love, support, kindness, and graciousness that was apparent to everyone who interacted with you all. She made the world a better place just by being in it. It was a privilege to be part of her life, although much more brief than I had hoped. Thank you.

  12. Joe and Linda Cravens says:

    Dick and Melanie and extended family,
    Sad to hear of the loss of your wonderful mother. Our thoughts are with you and all your family. In this time of sorrow, hope your great family memories will see you through.

  13. Clair & Audrey Moore says:

    Dear Kathy, Denny, Eric & Scott and all of the Zimmer Family,
    With heartfelt sympathy, our thoughts are with you & your family. Evelyn was truly an amazing mother and such a wonderful person! She always made us feel part of the family whenever we came to Idaho. And when Tracy was attending UoI, Evelyn was always there for her. For the many years that we have known you, your Mom has been a significant force in your family’s life – you will always have her with you with wonderful memories & anecdotes.

    And her smile and humor was unstoppable, never complaining even when her health was declining over the past few years…and you were always there to share the good & the challenging moments. She was the glue that held everyone together. She will be missed by all that knew her!

    Though we cannot make this journey to pay our respects now, we hope to celebrate her wonderful life with you this summer when we fly in from New York.

    Our prayers are with you, Clair, Audrey & Tracy Moore, New York

  14. Ed McGuire says:

    Influence. All the Guske clan possess it, influence. Mostly a quiet, kind influence it is. We are all better for having experienced it.
    Aunt Evelyn, thank you for your influence, for your example on how to live. I will always remember your warmth and kindness. For the life of me I can not remember your influence being anything but positive and peaceful.

  15. Nancy Call says:

    In this hard time for all of the Zimmer family, I can only remember the wonderful way that your mom and dad were involved in my life and all of the lives of the kids on the Moscow Swim Team. She was always there, supporting not only you, but the rest of us. Sleep overs in the parks of the Inland Northwest at swim meets, making sure we were all well behaved, fed and ready to swim, your mom was unbelievable. It couldn’t have been in easy job caring for all of you as well as the rest of us. In your time of loss, I have nothing but marvelous memories of your mom and those days. What a wonderful and strong mom you had.

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