Roger Allan Zimmerman, age 86, a lifelong resident of Cannon Falls, died on Sunday morning, February 19, 2023, at Mayo Clinic Hospital - Rochester, Methodist Campus.
Roger was born on November 21, 1936, in Red Wing, the son of Edgar and Gladys (Banks) Zimmerman. He graduated from Cannon Falls High School.
Roger married Ona Lee Helgerson on October 23, 1954, at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Randolph. They were married just one day short of 56 years when she died and built a busy and happy life together.
Roger took over his father’s business and had a 50-year career in trucking, moving and storage. He owned and operated Zimmerman’s City Transfer with offices in Cannon Falls, Red Wing, and Northfield. He loved to travel and help people through the stressful activity of moving. He had many repeat customers, some of whom he helped move across the country several times. One year, he was in 47 of the 48 contiguous states. Roger retired in 2004. However, that didn’t keep him from the road. Roger loved traveling around the USA. He thought it was a spectacular country.
When Ona Lee’s health started to weaken, Roger became his wife’s primary caregiver. Upon her passing, he continued to travel on weeks-long road trips with his grandchildren, and later, his friend Karen. Planning these adventures delighted Roger. Locating the best scenic routes to anywhere in the country made him happy.
While taking care of Ona Lee, Roger discovered his passion for cooking. He put his culinary skills to use by regularly hosting family gatherings and holiday celebrations. He cherished time with loved ones; for more than 65 years he hosted an annual 4th of July picnic.
A master at recognizing faces, but not so good at remembering names, Roger was well-known for calling out “Hey, Tiger” when coming across someone he knew. It became a greeting of affection for old friends and new.
Roger was a member of St. Ansgar’s Lutheran Church in Cannon Falls. He enjoyed reading, woodworking, sharing his home with beloved pets, and restoring a 1940 Ford Coupe. He was a competitive card player and loved playing dominos with the family after a holiday meal, or just because. He also sponsored a bowling team in Cannon Falls for many years.
He is survived by his daughters, Leigh Ann (Erik) Schwarzkopf and Candace Zimmerman; grandchildren, Karl (Meghan) and Sigrid Schwarzkopf; in-laws: Patti Kondziolka, Clarice and Chico Krenik, Lyle and Kay Helgerson, Carole Helgerson, and Bob and Frieda Helgerson; nieces and nephews: Cheryl (Steve Rondo) Bruck, Brad (Bonnie) Garnes, Scott (Ann) Helgerson, Erik (Susan) Helgerson, Lance (Marnie) Helgerson, Gabriel (Amy) Helgerson and Krista (Eric) Allen, many grand nieces and nephews and his special friend, Karen Kronberg.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Edgar and Gladys, his wife, Ona Lee, his brother-in-law, Roger Helgerson and several cousins.
A memorial service with military honors will be held on Saturday, March 11 at 3:00 pm, with visitation from 2:00-3:00 pm, at St. Ansgar's Lutheran Church, Cannon Falls, MN. This service will be livestreamed and available to view below.
Honorary pallbearers will be his grandchildren, along with his nieces and nephews.
In lieu of flowers, please donate to your charity of choice in Roger's memory.
Interment will take place in the spring at the Northfield Cemetery.
LIVESTREAM INFORMATION: For those who would like to participate in Roger's service via livestream, you can watch the service on Saturday, March 11 at 3:00 pm. It can be viewed by scrolling to the bottom of this page, and click to begin. Please leave a message of support on our Tribute Wall to let the family know you were able to watch the service. If you are having troubles with the Livestream, the service will be available to watch later in the day.