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On March 22, 2018, at age 97, Othilda ‘Tillie’ Irene Zimbelman’s final wish was granted when she passed away at her home “Son Heaven”, a wonderful, loving assisted living in Helena.
Visitation will be Wednesday, April 4, from 5 to 7pm at the Pondera Funeral Home. Tillie’s services will be held April 5 at 1 p.m. at the Conrad Mission Church followed by internment at Hillside Cemetery. A Celebration of Life and Luncheon will follow at the church.
Tillie and a twin sister, Jean Claire, were born on May 21, 1920, in Renton, Wash., to Herman and Katherine Tronson. Her sister, Jean, passed away before her second birthday, leaving Tillie fourth of seven surviving siblings. In her early years, Tillie’s family moved to Alaska, back to Renton, and eventually back to Montana, settling in the Agawam, Bynum area, where Tillie graduated from Choteau High School in 1938.
That Thanksgiving, while attending a dance, Tillie met Gilbert Zimbelman, five weeks later on New Year’s Eve they were married. A marriage which lasted over 73 years. They settled on Gilbert’s grandfather’s homestead near Brady, where they farmed.
They were blessed with four children, twins Jerry and Jean, son Larry, and daughter Linda.
In addition to the farm, Gilbert and Tillie owned and operated Dude Ranches in Lincoln, and later in Spotted Bear. In semi-retirement, they purchased and ran a campground near Coram and West Glacier.
When they finally retired, it was to Great Falls where they lived until 2011, when they moved to East Helena to live with their daughter Jean and her husband Leroy Cyr.
Othilda’s loves were her family, entertaining friends and family, playing cards, and traveling. She was a devoted and loving wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and great-great-grandmother. She was loved by all and will be missed.
She was preceded in death by her parents; husband Gilbert; sisters Edith Denzer King, Myrtle White, Rose Keller, and infant sister Jean; her brothers Bill, Roy and infant twin brothers.
Tillie is survived by four children, Jerry (Karlyn) Zimbelman of Conrad, Jean (Leroy) Cyr of East Helena, Larry (Beth) Zimbelman of Conrad, and Linda (Rob) Fee of Friendswood, Texas. She is also survived by 14 grandchildren, 33 great-grandchildren, four great-great-grandchildren; and brother, Herb (Fern) Tronson of Great Falls.
Memorials may be made to Son Heaven Assisted Living, 2510 Ferndale, Helena, MT 59601 or Samaritan’s Purse, P.O. Box 3000, Boone, N.C. 28607-3000.