Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A Life in Small Town America

Arlene Zimmerman of Sandpoint, Idaho was unknown to me until she passed away and I read the obituary written by someone to whom she was important. Though I did not know this Arlene Zimmerman, I have known many Arlene Zimmermans, as all of us have. She and thousands of others are the backbone of our nation, the good and decent folk who guide our individual lives in directions we cannot know until years have passed; the people to whom we owe so much, yet repay so little. From their example, we may pay it forward and guide someone else along life's path.

Arlene Skinner Zimmerman

The summation of a person’s entire lifetime gets crammed into one of these tiny spaces; a modest, little column on the printed page where perusing eyes catch a name and perhaps read on if it sounds familiar, if not, questing fingers move on to the Sports or Entertainment sections where the most recent headlines trumpet the latest in fashion and glitz.

To many of you, when you look at that name in an obituary it is just a name; however, just know that an obituary is so much more than that. This was a person; a person who made a difference in the lives of many people. A lifetime of achievement cannot be condensed down and crammed into such a small section and truly do them justice.

It simply cannot be done — not really.


That is the word which would describe Arlene Skinner Zimmerman. Though the rest of these words will give account of the abridged details, events, and people in her life; just know that Arlene Zimmerman was a person, one who lived and breathed just the same as you are doing right now; one who enjoyed quiet walks along the beach, spending time with her loved ones, and time spent in and around the water.

She was real; she was much more than simply a printed name.

Arlene passed at the age of 64 in her Sandpoint home at 6:06 P.M. on July 8 after an extensive battle with cancer. Arlene was born on March 5, 1945 in California to Herbert Max and Irene Skinner.

She lived a life of service to others, playing an active role in her church, as well as among her friends and family. She has been described as a kind and compassionate individual, and anyone who came in contact with her felt of her warmth and her loving spirit. Her determination and ability to overcome all obstacles was an inspiration to all that knew her.

Arlene is survived by her husband, George Dale Zimmerman and their seven children, Guy Skinner, Westley Sommers, Shawna Zimmerman, Jason Zimmerman, Yancy Zimmerman, Miya Edwards, and Lucie Zimmerman as well as seven grandchildren: Sam, Tom, Josh, Shane, Jezrel, Unique, & Craven.

She will be greatly missed; her spirit of decency and dedication will live on for those who knew her.

Services will be held Thursday, July 16, 2009, at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on 602 Schwietzer Cuttoff Road, Sandpoint, at 11 a.m. A viewing will be held at 10 a.m., Thursday at the church. Burial will take place at Pack River Cemetery.

Family and friends are invited to sign Arlene’s online guest book at

Arrangements are under the care of Coffelt Funeral Service.
Arlene Zimmerman lived a life of wealth and riches. "She will be greatly missed; her spirit of decency and dedication will live on for those who knew her." I'm sure she will live on for many years to come.

The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.

1 comment:

Indigo Red said...

Mr Zimmerman, the son of Arlene and authur of her obituary, wrote the following comment on the next day's post.

Teachinfourth said...
My dad found this post the other day. Thanks for your words about those which I wrote. To know that others 'know' my mom as well is, in a strange way, comforting.

Thank you.

11/30/2009 06:33:00 PM

I appreciate Mr Zimmerman's words and I am touched deeply that his family found comfort in my words. That's humanity and America at its best.