Dollie Margarete Zimmerman (1885 – 1951)

     My great-grandmother Dollie Margarete Zimmerman was born Lydia Margarete Story in Whittington, Illinois on June 23, 1885.  Her father was George W. Story.  Great Grandma’s mother was named Malinda.  I do not have much information on either of them.

     Great Grandma found employment as a school teacher at Schrum School in Bollinger County, Missouri indicating she must have received some schooling beyond elementary school.  In her job as a school teacher, she met Mellie Bollinger Zimmerman.  Dolly and Mellie became good friends.


Parker Zimmerman holding Harry and Dollie Zimmerman holding Frank O. in Commerce, MO in 1913.

     Mellie was the second wife of my great-grandfather Parker Zimmerman.  Parker and Mellie had five children before Ida Zimmerman died at 10 months of age in October 1909.  Two months later, the family suffered another horrific blow.

     In mid-December 1909, Mellie was washing clothes for the family, when her skirt caught fire from the open flame underneath the metal tub.  Flames spread over Mellie’s skirt before it was doused.  Mellie lived in pain for several days before she passed away on Christmas Day 1909.

     Parker and his four children were trying to cope but the oldest child Lonnie was only five years old and the twins Oliver and Dolly were 2 years old.  Four-year-old William Reuben, known as Reuben to the family, completed the family.

     Dollie Story moved in to the home to help with her friends’ children.  Within a few months, Parker had fallen for Dollie and proposed.  They were married in late 1910.  In 1911, their oldest son Harry was born.  My grandfather Frank O. would be born in 1913.  In all, Parker and Dollie would have seven children to add to their growing family.

     Great Grandma was a housewife for the remainder of her life.  Tragically, Parker and Dollie buried their oldest son Harry in 1937 at the young age of 25.  Parker and Dollie were happily married until a tragic day in May 1949.

     On May 21, 1949, a tornado formed outside of Cape Girardeau, Missouri.  Parker and Dollie were sitting in their home at 7 p.m., when the Cape Girardeau Tornado of 1949 ripped through the Red Star Subdivision and made a direct hit on Parker’s and Dollie’s home.  At 7:05 p.m., Parker Zimmerman was dead.


Parker in front of his house in Red Star before it was destroyed.

     Dollie was seriously injured and never recovered from the tornado.  Grandpa Frank and Grandma Eloise Zimmerman lived a house or two over from his father.  Their house was spared.  Frank O. was not spared though when he was the one to find his father dead and laying on a box springs out in a field by the house.  The tornado blew the house off its foundation.

     Dollie lived with my grandparents in Illmo, Scott County, Missouri, where they moved after the tornado.  She lived with them from May 1949 until November 22, 1951, when she checked into Southeast Missouri Hospital.  Besides the injuries from tornado, she also suffered from heart disease.

    On Thanksgiving Day, November 22, 1951, she entered the hospital.  She suffered a head injury after falling either right before or the day after entering the hospital.

     On November 27, 1951, Dollie Margarete Zimmerman passed away at 12:10 a.m.  Dollie was 66 years old and lived two years after Parker’s passing.  Her death certificate incorrectly listed her name as Dolly Margarete Hampton and her date of birth was listed as June 23, 1886.  However, all the family records and census records show her year of birth as 1885.  Uncle Jimmy, James Zimmerman, signed as informant on the death certificate.  My uncle James Ray Zimmerman was named after Uncle Jimmy and James Dean.

     Dollie was laid to rest with Parker in Lorimer Cemetery on November 29, 1951.  Great Grandma was gone but not forgotten.

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