Michael James Zimmerman, age 70, of Helena (2024)

January 17,1954 – February 26, 2024

Michael “Mike” James Zimmerman passed away at home after a courageous battle with pancreatic cancer. His family was there to love and comfort him. He was born January 17, 1954, in Helena, Montana, the eldest son of five children to Joe and Mary Zimmerman.

Mike was fortunate to grow up in a home that believed in God, family, and hard work. He attended Bishop Gilmore school and then later attended public schools in Helena, graduating from Helena High School in 1972.

Growing up Mike enjoyed being an altar boy, boy scout and rockhound. Camping and exploring with his siblings was one of his favorite things to do.

Mike worked various jobs through high school including selling papers, working at Jacoby’s Men Store, Barnes Jewelry, painting, and perfataping. He fondly told stories of painting for elderly people who were always providing him with sandwiches and cookies to “keep up his strength.”

In 7th grade Mike met his future wife Gail even though it wasn’t until High School when they took things to the next step and in 1974, they were married. This then came with six wonderful children, Kelly, Julie, John, David, Tim, and Steven, not to forget his love of dogs, leaving behind Aspen, Rocky, and Ellie. Mike and Gail were blessed with 50 years together.

Mike loved going to the movies and couldn’t wait to see what new movie came out over the weekend. Garage sales and estate sales became something he truly enjoyed and came home with many treasures bragging about his many finds. Throughout their marriage Mike found time to take the occasional out-of-state trip taking Gail and the children for yet another adventure.

Mike worked on many remodeling and building projects with his family learning the value of seeing a project from start to finish and giving him the love of real estate thus paying his way through college. He graduated from Carroll College in 1976 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Accounting and an Associate’s degree in Criminal Justice.

After graduation he went on to work for the State Treasury and then the Board of Investments as a Portfolio Securities manager. It was during this time that Mike wanted to expand his love of real estate and went to work for Golden West Real Estate becoming a realtor and later a broker branching off into his own business. Even though Mike worked both jobs he always went off to work many evenings and weekends helping his family with their many building projects.

The next chapter of Mike’s life began when he hung up his tie at the State of Montana and ventured out to pursue his dream of owning and operating a business. One business lead to another and in the long run he had several businesses including Hobo Video, The Scrub Tub Laundromat and Drycleaning plant, and many years of owning and operating the Country Harvest, The Whistle Stop Restaurant, and the Howard Johnson Hotel.

Mike became an appraiser and enjoyed that work until his illness started in November.

His last proud accomplishment was the rental business that he established and ran with his wife and the help of his children who were always there to help with painting and repairs as needed. He was very proud of his hard-working children and grandchildren.

He was quite the storyteller, and he totally had his grandchildren convinced he met and became friends with an alien named “Bob.” Many laughs and stories pursued over that one. Every family event Mike was sure to tell some kind of story about the kids growing up and all the mischief they got into. He loved going to their sporting events and all school programs. Mike most recently decided to pass the storytelling torch to his grandchildren.

Mike Is preceded in death by his parents, Joe and Mary Zimmerman, his uncle Bernard and aunt Lillian Zimmerman, his nephew Bryan Zimmerman; and his son-in-law Stephen Sakaguchi.

Mike is survived by his loving wife Gail, his children: Kelly, Julie Sakaguchi, John, David (Brandi), Tim, and Steven all of Helena. His grandchildren Maci and Jacob Sakaguchi, Taylor and Kamri Zimmerman. He is also survived by his siblings Terry and Jeff of Helena, Vince (Dan) of Denver CO, Karen Durgin (Steve) of Spokane Valley, WA; his nieces and nephews; Teresa, Kevin (Josselyn), James, Lee Anne and Alicia Zimmerman of Helena; Greg (Brenda) Durgin of Star, Idaho; Phil (Sofia) Durgin of Fort Worth, Texas and several special great nieces and nephews.

A funeral mass will be held in Helena on Thursday, May 9 at 11:00 A.M. at Our Lady of the Valley Church followed by a luncheon in the Social Center. Burial will be at the Resurrection Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers donations can be made to The Lewis and Clark Humane Society (https://lchsmontana.org) or helenafoodshare.org.

A special thanks to The Cancer Treatment Center for their excellent care of Mike and to Compassus who made sure Mike was always treated with respect and much needed comfort.

Service Schedule

Funeral Mass

11:00 a.m.

Thursday May 9, 2024

Our Lady of the Valley Church

1502 Shirley Rd.

Helena, Montana 59602

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Luncheon

Following the Funeral Mass

Thursday May 9, 2024

Church Social Hall

Helena, Montana 59602

View map

Burial

Following the Reception

Thursday May 9, 2024

Resurrection Cemetery

3685 N. Montana Ave.

Helena, Montana 59602

View map

Service Schedule

Funeral Mass

11:00 a.m.

Thursday May 9, 2024

Our Lady of the Valley Church

1502 Shirley Rd.

Helena, Montana 59602

View map

Luncheon

Following the Funeral Mass

Thursday May 9, 2024

Church Social Hall

Helena, Montana 59602

View map

Burial

Following the Reception

Thursday May 9, 2024

Resurrection Cemetery

3685 N. Montana Ave.

Helena, Montana 59602

View map

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Michael James Zimmerman, age 70, of Helena (2024)
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