Loretta Anne Zimmerman of Madison, Wisconsin, aged 87, passed away on Tuesday, May 10, 2022. Loretta was born in Merrill to Ray and Helene (Wyss) Galipeau in November of 1934. Loretta is survived by her husband Walter Dan, and four children, Mary, Richard (Suzanne), Robert (Julie), and Randall, eight grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren, and her sister Mary Lou (Albert) Milner, sisters-in-law Darlene (Rueben) Puphal and Shirley (Dave) Hulke, as well as numerous nieces, nephews and cousins. She was preceded in death by her parents, her parents-in-law Walter and Velma (Kell) Zimmerman, her brother Ray (Lois) Galipeau, Jr., and her sister Betty Mae (Norman) Skare.
Loretta was born at the Holy Cross Hospital and attended the St Francis of Xavier Grade School. Her first two years of high school were at the Holy Cross High School for Girls. Between her Sophomore and Junior years she transferred to the Merrill High School. She graduated in the Spring of 1952.
She grew up in the apartment above the Gold Arrow Bowling Lanes located on the corner of First and N. Scott Streets. As her father owned the bowling lanes (and building), she and her siblings all became champion bowlers traveling throughout the state and country to compete in bowling tournaments. She would continue to bowl throughout her life until a back injury in her thirties prevented further participation.
As a girl and young woman she participated in many sports and activities. In those days she was known as a ‘tom boy’. But she is perhaps best known (or remembered) for her beautiful singing voice which lasted right up to her death. She sang at funerals, weddings, community events and as a soloist with her church choirs.
Loretta met her husband Dan on the corner of First and N. Scott Streets in front of the door of the Gold Arrow Bowling Lanes in the summer of 1950. As the story goes, Loretta told Dan both her sisters had married pin setters (pin setters set up the bowling pins between throws). A few days after meeting Loretta, Dan went down to the bowling lanes to meet her father and apply for a job as a pin setter. Last fall they celebrated their 69th wedding anniversary.
After their marriage Dan’s career would take them around the country. Over the next 35 years they moved over a dozen times. And Loretta loved the change of scenery and learning about each new place. After Dan’s retirement they returned to their hometown of Merrill to open a Bed and Breakfast Inn (B&B). For nearly a year Dan worked on restoring the beautiful old Victorian located at 700 W Main while Loretta started decorating. They opened the Candlewick Inn in 1988 and it quickly became a success. Loretta was the consummate Inn Keeper as she had never met a stranger (as the saying goes). That and her business acumen ensured the Inn’s success.
But they soon tired of the cold winters and after a few years they sold the Inn and headed South to Arizona. They would spend the next 20+ years there, traveling and exploring the southwest with their many friends. This included a trip to China so she could hold a Panda Bear. She loved Panda’s and had a whole collection of them in her home.
Several years ago Loretta started experiencing symptoms of Alzheimers. A few years ago, she and Dan moved back to Southern Wisconsin to be near family. Loretta was a woman whose smile, with dimples, lit up any room she entered. Her warm humor, laughter, sense of fun and adventure will be sorely missed by her family and friends.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Tuesday, May 17, 2022, at 12pm at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Merrill, Wisconsin. Father Maria Vallabhaneni will officiate. Visitation will be held on Monday, May 16, 2022, from 6pm until 8pm at Waid Funeral Home and again on Tuesday, May 17, 2022, from 9am until 11:30am, also at the funeral home. Burial of her remains will take place at the St. Francis Xavier Catholic Cemetery immediately following the Funeral Mass.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in Loretta’s name to the Alzheimer’s Association, 8A West Davenport Street, Suite 224, Rhinelander, WI, 54501.
A special thank you to the UW Health East Madison Hospital (American Center) for their care and support shown to Loretta and her family during her last days.
Waid Funeral Home & Cremation Service of Merrill is assisting the family with arrangements. Online condolences are encouraged and may be made at www.waidfuneral.com.