Cover photo for Donald D. Zimbelman's Obituary
Donald D. Zimbelman Profile Photo
1959 Donald 2023

Donald D. Zimbelman

February 18, 1959 — July 18, 2023


      Donald D. Zimbelman, Jr., “Donny” was born in Conrad on February 18, 1959 to Don and Fern Zimbelman of Brady. Donny passed suddenly and unexpectedly on Tuesday, July 18, 2023 of pulmonary embolism.  

  Services will be Tuesday, July 25, at 11:00am at Conrad First Presbyterian Church. A reception at the Conrad Moose Lodge will follow the burial.  

  Donny was a good friend. He loved people. He could talk to anyone and be comfortable in just about any situation. Donny was a loyal, caring, kind, and an even-tempered man, mostly. He was funny with a quick wit that floored you. When Donny Z walked in the door you knew it was going to be a great day.  

  Donny was a good cook. No, Donny was a great cook! When he was cooking at the Branding Iron, Coaches Corner, a benefit, or a reunion, people came to eat. They were fed mounds of food cooked with love and care. Cooking was Donny’s way of expressing himself, showing and sharing his love for you. When he was happy, he cooked. When he was mad or sad, he cooked. He didn’t always express his feelings with words but with his cooking. Family, friends, and good food-how could it get any better.  

  Donny always cooked at home. His passion came from standing at his mother and grandmother Cora’s side. As a young adult was nurtured at Boise State’s Culinary Arts program. As a father, Don’s kids and their friends packed the house at mealtime and there was always room for one more at the table. Need a midnight snack? You got it! Over the years with his cooking, Donny showed these kids he loved and cared about them. Many a kid wandered in just to see what was cooking at the Zimbelman’s.  

  After 17 years working with Schwan’s as a warehouse manager, Donny decided to cut his ties with the corporate world and do what he loved most, cooking. The opportunity presented itself to move back to Conrad from Great Falls and work for the Conrad School District as a school cook. “Mr. Don” lit up the kitchen at 6am when the cooks arrived. He took pride in the food presented. He loved the students, and they loved him. From K to 12, Mr. Don was “the man”. The staff and administration were now Don’s audience as he bantered with and teased all who came in the kitchen. Mr. Don found lost mittens and taught the younger students how to open a milk carton without spilling. He wiped away tears and wiped tables. An occasional bread roll was known to have been launched across the high school commons at the football or basketball team. Can’t imagine who would do that. Don loved the students, loved the teachers and aides, and even the administration.  

  Don was a 3rd Degree Mason Member of the Pondera Lodge #80 and a member of the First Presbyterian Church.  

  For almost 25 years Amy was loved by Don. He would say he was the lucky one, but Amy knew she was the lucky one. They would have celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary on September 12. They were a good match and complemented each other well.  

  Survivors include his wife, Amy; daughter, Ashley Lyon and her daughter, Penelope; son, Donnie (Jessi)Watson and their children, Dean, Reese, Deagan, and Dorie; son, Dale (Rachel) Watson and their children, Alissa Bleeker, Drake, Whisper, Drayden and grandson, Dristyn Bleeker; son, David (Kayla) Zimbelman and their children, Devin, Damon, and Adelynn “Addy”; 3 siblings, Geoffrey, Gregg, and Valori and their spouses; 12 nieces and nephews; Donny’s Aunt Rita (Leroy) Walker; and a crew of McCuish cousins in California.  

   The dishes are washed, the kitchen is cleared, the day is done, switch off the lights. The kitchen is closed. Well done, good friend.  

  Memorials can be made to Pondera Food Pantry, 220 So Front St, Conrad, MT 59425 or Conrad School District #10 Food Service Program, 220 No Wisconsin St, Conrad, MT 59425. Please list Don Zimbelman memorial in memo line.  

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Donald D. Zimbelman, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Memorial Service

Tuesday, July 25, 2023

Starts at 11:00 am (Mountain time)

Conrad First Presbyterian Church

123 4th Avenue Southwest, Conrad, MT 59425

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