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Joanne Zimmer

Joanne Jean Zimmer, 80, of Brussels, and formerly of Illinois and Florida, was called home to be with the Lord, Tuesday afternoon, July 1, 2014, at the Palliative Care Unit of Golden Living Center – Dorchester in Sturgeon Bay with family at her side.

She was born December 29, 1933, in Chicago, IL, the daughter of Eugene and Myrtle (Johnson) Schaeffer. Joanne graduated from Taft High School on January 30, 1952. Four days later, on February 3, she was united in marriage to Ralph Otto Zimmer in Washington, D.C. (Ralph was in the service during the Korean War at the time.) Joanne first met Ralph at St. Paul Lutheran Church (LCMS) in Chicago, where Ralph’s father was the Pastor. (Joanne was completing her confirmation classes.)

Joanne and Ralph were blessed with three children (Linda, Robert, and Donna) during the first six years following their marriage. Joanne worked for years for Jewel Grocery Store in Chicago as a cashier, initially part-time, and later full-time. She then worked as a collector for the Illinois Tollway for over 17 years.

Together, Ralph and Joanne enjoyed traveling – overseas to Europe visiting family and friends and all across the United States. In1978, they bought property and built what would become their summer residence on the bay of Green Bay in Brussels. Their winter residence was in Sugarmill Woods in Homosassa, FL. Joanne and Ralph were snowbirds for 17 years.

Joanne loved gardening, caring for both, her flowers and vegetables. In recent months, she enjoyed playing cards at the Door County Senior Resource Center. Earlier in life, she belonged to the Walther League, an LCMS organization for youth and young adults.

Joanne will be deeply missed by her husband of 62 years, Ralph of Brussels and Sturgeon Bay; two daughters and one son, Linda (Michael) Newberry of Roswell, GA, Robert Zimmer of Elgin, IL, Donna (Peter) Johnson of Webster, NH; three grandchildren, Zachary and Matthew Hooper, Brittany Newberry; and great-grandson, Adrian.

She was preceded in death by her parents; and two brothers, Russell (Ruth) and Ronald Schaeffer.

A memorial service is being planned for this summer at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Chicago, IL. Joanne will be laid to rest in Hainesville Cemetery in the town of Nasewaupee, WI.

Memorials may be given (in Joanne’s name) for the Bethesda Lutheran Communities (600 Hoffmann Dr., Watertown, WI 53094 or

Huehns Funeral Home & Cremation Services of Sturgeon Bay is caring for the Zimmer family. Online condolences and guestbook signing may be offered on Joanne’s tribute page at


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