Walter C. Zimmer

Walter C. Zimmer passed away peacefully at the age of 100 on Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2020.

Walter, the oldest of 12 siblings, was born March 1, 1919, to Hubert and Hattie Zimmer of Rice Lake, Wis. Walt spent his childhood living and working on farms.

In 1936, he joined the CCC. In 1941, he joined the Army and served in World War II as a medical technician in Australia and the South Pacific.

After his return home, he married the love of his life, Genevieve Leuthner, on May 17, 1945. Walt and Gen built a house on Slocumb Street in Rice Lake in 1946, where they raised three boys.

He mostly worked in road construction, briefly at his own welding shop, worked as supervisor at Garland Sand and Gravel, and concluded his career as the Rice Lake street superintendent, retiring in 1981.

After retirement, Walt spent 30 years as caretaker of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church and School, mostly doing maintenance work. He was a “jack of all trades,” because he knew how to fix just about anything. In 2009, he received the Spirit of Stewardship Award from the local Bishop in recognition of his many years of service. Walt also served on the Rice Lake Housing Authority and the Rice Lake Utility Commission.

In retirement, Walt and Gen took to polka dancing. They joined the Polka Lovers Klub of America, and in 1985, were crowned king and queen of the club's St. Paul chapter. They traveled to polka festivals and had the time of their life.

Walt was a loving man, very strong in character and diligent in every task he was asked to do. He was faithful to our almighty God and richly blessed. He was deeply committed to and grateful for his family. His friendship and guidance was appreciated by all. He lived his life daily, making the best of it.

Surviving are sisters Charlotte Paulsen and Katherine Heutmaker; sons Doug (Peggy), Dan (Mary) and David (Marcia); grandchildren Julie, Marie, Jean, Dawn, Brooke, Ben and Anna; nine great-grandchildren; and many nephews and nieces.

Walt was preceded in death by his wife, and siblings Margaret Omdalen, Herbert, Donald, James, Helene Sirek, William, Jack and Dorothy Sirek.

A Mass of Christian burial will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 27, from St. Joseph Catholic Church, Rice Lake, with Father Samuel Schneider officiating. Interment will follow at St. Joseph Cemetery, with military rites accorded by the Rice Lake Veterans Center Honor Guard.

Visitation will be held 4-7 p.m. Wednesday from Appleyard's Home for Funerals, Rice Lake, and an hour prior to services at the church.