Celebrating the Life of Mark Zimmerman

Mark Zimmerman’s Celebration of Life

Mark Larry Zimmerman, age 56, of Spencer passed away peacefully at his home on June 29, 2022. Mark had a determined and positive attitude in dealing with cancer over the past 4 ½ years so much that he continued teaching and working on the farm as long as he possibly could. Mark was born May 14, 1966 in Eau Claire, Wisconsin the son of Larry and Carol (Crave) Zimmerman. He graduated from Osseo-Fairchild High School in 1984. Mark was a very active 4-H and FFA member throughout high school. Following high school graduation, he attended the University of Wisconsin-River Falls and earned a degree in Agricultural Education. In 1985 Mark was elected State Vice President of the Wisconsin Association of FFA. It was then that he met his wife, Cheryl Helmeid. Mark and Cheryl were married August 1, 1992 at the Osseo Evangelical Lutheran Church in Osseo, Wisconsin.

Mark had a love for Disney World as he worked for “The Land” at the EPCOT Center while in college. Following college graduation, Mark was hired by the Spencer School District as the agricultural education instructor and FFA advisor where he worked for the past 33 years. Mark was a wonderful teacher, mentor, and role model for all his students and colleagues. He was honored as a Crystal Apple Teacher Award Winner, Herb Kohl Teacher Fellowship Award winner, and recognized by the Wisconsin and National Association of Agricultural Educators as an Outstanding Agricultural Education Program. Most recently he received the Outstanding Agriculture Instructor Award from UW-River Falls and was inducted into the Wisconsin FFA Hall of Fame at the 2022 Wisconsin FFA Convention.

The Spencer FFA Chapter flourished under Mark’s leadership as FFA membership grew and the FFA Chapter was a multiple year National Chapter Award winner. Mark had many students become State and National Proficiency Award Finalists including his children Aaron, Ashley, and Katelyn as National Winners, State and American Star Finalists, State and American Degree recipients, State FFA Officers, and most recently his daughter Cortney was elected as the National FFA Central Region Vice President. He was so proud that his own children were a part of these many accomplishments.

Mark took great pride in his greenhouse which would be full of beautiful poinsettias and hanging baskets. Community service was a priority for him from Project Merry Christmas to the annual Easter Egg Hunt. He loved traveling with his students to FFA events including the Washington Leadership Conference in Washington DC, National and State Conventions, and many leadership conferences.

Mark had a huge influence on the future of Agricultural Education as he had multiple student teachers under his supervision. His influence of teaching also runs strong in his family as five of his children and in-law children are involved in agricultural education. He and his wife Cheryl were a unique couple as they both were agricultural education instructors – Mark in the classroom and Cheryl in working with the Wisconsin FFA. Together you would see them working hand-in-hand with students at FFA events. FFA was a part of how they met, who they were, their family, their passion, and their profession.

Mark was extremely involved in the Marathon County 4-H and Wisconsin Valley Fair. Mark served as the swine superintendent for over 30 years for the Wisconsin Valley Fair and took pride in running a well-organized hog show. Mark served on the Wisconsin Valley Fair Board and Junior Fair Board. He served as a coach for the Marathon County 4-H Meats Judging, Livestock Quiz Bowl, and Skillathon teams. In 2010, his team won the National 4-H Skillathon Competition in Louisville, Kentucky, and in 2014 his team won the National Quiz Bowl competition at Ak-sar-ben in Omaha, Nebraska. He received the Marathon County Clover Power Plus Award in 2013. The fun thing for Mark was he could enjoy all these opportunities with his own family as well as many other young people.

Mark was a member of Faith Lutheran Church where he served as Church Council President as well as on the call committee for hiring pastors. Each year Mark would help the church youth group with their annual flower sale by providing flowers from his classroom greenhouse. He also served on the Spencer Township Board for several years.

Mark loved Simmental Cattle. Growing up on a farm, he always had a love of animals and wanted to allow his own children to be a part of that same experience. He and his four children were actively involved in raising and showing beef cattle at local, state, and national shows. He was so proud of his children’s work in breeding and showing cattle. Some of his greatest accomplishments included Supreme Champion Bull at the 2021 Wisconsin State Fair, many other Supreme, Grand and Reserve Champions with heifers, cow-calf pairs, and bulls at a variety of shows. As he would say, “Ag teacher by day and farmer by night”.

Mark’s family meant everything to him. Survivors include Mark’s wife Cheryl, son Aaron and Leeah Zimmerman; daughters Ashley and Jack Crowson; Katelyn Zimmerman; and Cortney Zimmerman. Parents Larry and Carol Zimmerman. Brother Greg and Sharon Zimmerman; Sister Jill Welke; Brother Scot and Jenny Zimmerman; Father-in-law Robert Helmeid and many nieces, nephews, aunts, and uncles.

Mark was preceded in death by his brother Todd Zimmerman, mother-in-law Carol Helmeid and his grandparents.

A visitation will be held on Thursday, July 7, 2022 from 2 to 8 pm at the Lucille Tack Center at Spencer High School and on Friday July 8, 2022 from 10:00 am until the funeral service at 11:00 am at Faith Lutheran Church and livestreamed through the Faith Lutheran Church-Marshfield YouTube channel. Rev. Heather Brown will officiate. Rembs Funeral Home, Marshfield, is assisting the family. Burial will be at 4:00 pm in Thompson Valley Cemetery near Osseo, Wisconsin. The family would like to thank all the Marshfield Clinic and UW-Madison Hospital doctors and nurses that have helped us along this journey. A memorial fund will be established in Mark’s name.


News Desk
Author: News Desk