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.