Obituary of Joy Dolly Zimmermann
“All that I am or hope ever to be I get from my mother."
On October 25, 2023, in Meridian, Idaho, the family of Joy Zimmermann gathered around her to say their final goodbyes to a truly remarkable, poised, and refined woman. She was 78 years young at the time of her passing. For the past four decades, her children had called the eighth of February, the anniversary of Joy’s 39th birthday. Although her death was sudden, her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren were lucky enough to say goodbye before she moved on to her next big adventure.
Joy was born to the delight of the late Robert Martin Ford and Alice Clista Shaw Ford on February 8, 1945. She grew up on their ranch by Rattle Snake Station near Mountain Home, Idaho. Joy spent much of her time reading books and riding her horse, Blaze. She was the essence of her name, as she brought happiness to everyone around her. Joy attended Mountain Home High School and married Alan Dwight Wilson on September 1, 1963, shortly after graduating. They then moved to Moscow to attend the University of Idaho. The architecture department asked Joy to change her major due to her creativity, artistic talent, and mathematical mind. She enjoyed the courses thoroughly. Joy eventually left college to raise her four children: Crystal, Robert, Jason, and John, whom she adored. She went on to become a real estate broker, military spouse, an adoring mother, and Oma. Joy met Major Hugo Zimmerman, an Air Force pilot while selling him a home during his station at MHAFB. They were married on April 1, 1988, when they eloped to Elko, Nevada. The two traveled the world, living in Denmark, Germany, Ohio, Hawaii, Virginia, Texas, and Meridian, Idaho.
Everywhere Joy moved, she made friends and continued those friendships. In San Antonio, she was known as Miss Joy and always had popsicles ready for the children who lived next door. In Denmark, Joy was known as a great cook and often had the local priests over for dinner. Joy also had a vast knowledge of wine that she paired with delicious meals for her family or a bowl of chips in front of the TV. In Virginia, she found a group of women who loved flowers as much as she did and joined the HOA. Her stay in Germany was filled with trips to other countries with Hugo, spending time with her friends the Rolshhausens, and inspiring her sons to take advantage of living in a different country and travel on their own.
As an inspirational figure, Joy stood firmly by her beliefs, defended those she loved, and was always striving to better herself. She often expanded her knowledge through classes, hands-on courses, or studying the history and cultures of the places she visited. Joy had the motto, "You never know a city until you get lost in it". She has always put the GPS and maps away before exploring a new place. Joy always left anywhere she had been more educated and experienced in world events, customs, cultures, and beliefs. She also wanted to make others better and was known to correct your grammar, pronunciation, and spelling, no matter your age. Joy always encouraged and supported those around her to follow their dreams and never set limits on what they could achieve. These convictions are how she raised her children to be pillars of kindness and strength in her likeness.
Joy was charming, spirited, funny, and determined. She exhibited these traits to the very end. No one will ever forget her setting on fire not one but two vehicles. One time, Joy was driving home in her mother's pink 56 Buick Limited Ladies Edition and flicked a lit cigarette out the driver-side window. When she got home, Joy was surprised to discover the cigarette had flown back into the car through the back window and onto the back seat. The second time was after a late-night run to Boise with her niece, Julie Ristau. She was driving her beloved 280 ZX when she miscalculated a turn and drove off the road, setting the dry grass beneath the car ablaze. The two watched as her car became engulfed in flames and then spent the rest of the night flirting with the firefighters responding to the call.
Joy also flirted with the firemen who responded to the 911 call a month before her passing. The firefighters were all enamored with her after she batted her hazel eyes at them and told them how handsome they all were. The firefighters did not want to release her to the EMT's care when they arrived to take her to the hospital. Like many people before and after, Joy had charmed them, and they wanted to stay by her side. When she returned to St. Luke’s care, the nurses loved her and knew she had been a spitfire. At this time, the doctors discovered that her heart was just too big for any human. A fact her family and friends had known for a long time. Joy took her final breath surrounded by three generations of family.
Joy was preceded in death by two husbands, Alan Wilson and Hugo Zimmerman; her parents; siblings: Roberta Townsend, Don Ford, and Walt Ford, and her granddaughter, Jayme Nielson. She is survived by her children: Crystal Madril, Robert Wilson, Jason Wilson, and John Wilson; brother, Lee Ford; sister, Carolyn Hunt, and many beloved nieces, nephews, and cousins. Oma Joy also leaves behind eleven grandchildren: Ben, Christy, and Sage Madril, Haily Barley and Jorden Lorton, Tristan Johnson, Courtney and Corbin Nielson, and Mackinzy Wilson, along with three great-grandchildren: Braxton, Eric, and Abby. The family feels her loss deeply, but they are comforted by the stories they have and continue to share. Her children will always cherish the memories they created with their loving mother. These include speeding along the autobahn, having her puffy Danish pancakes, Aebelskiver (or ebelskivers) for breakfast, or skiing as a family at Brundage. Oma Joy's grandchildren and great-grandchildren will remember her dragon egg-hunting skills, trips to Dairy Queen, cheetah caretaking, and the most delicious caramels she made for everyone during the holidays. They will all miss her dearly.
Joy Zimmermann’s family invites you to a Celebration of Life on February 3, 2024, at 1:00 pm to tell stories from her past, regale memories, or have a glass of wine in remembrance. Her family will send details of the celebration at the beginning of the new year. In place of flowers or gifts, we ask that you send a story or memory you would like to share to Joy's FaceBook page or The Wilson Family at 12704 W. Running Brook Rd., Boise, ID 83713.To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Joy Zimmermann, please visit Tribute Store