Tonica Ziemer 1946-2020

Tonica (“Toni”) Dorothy Ziemer (nee Dimich) went to be with her Lord and Savior on Sunday, November 22, 2020 at Maple Woods Assisted Living in Deer River, MN after a long and courageous battle with cancer.  

Toni was born to Peter and Fran Dimich on January 17, 1946 in Grand Rapids, MN. Toni graduated from Grand Rapids High School in 1964 and attended the University of Minnesota – Duluth. She left school to raise her family when she married her first husband, Gary Zimm, in 1967. Toni eventually returned to school when her children were grown and received her Associate Degree. 

Toni raised her four children as a single parent for many years, and though times were sometimes difficult she always instilled in them a faith in Jesus, a strong sense of right and wrong, and a healthy appreciation for education. Toni loved music and enjoyed playing both the piano and the accordion. She would often be heard singing songs of her own creation, with lyrics narrating the events of the day or offering her unique, sardonic take on a particular issue. Toni was also an avid reader who was usually in the middle of six different books at once. Toni loved the English language, writing poetry, playing with words, and making puns continually.

Toni married Don Ziemer in 1987 and moved to his dairy farm in Tripp, Wisconsin.  Throughout the years, they enjoyed woodworking, Bible study and time together on the farm, including spoiling her favorite cow, Henrietta. Toni was active in several groups and clubs both in church and in her community, and would often be found lending a hand by baking, working in the church kitchen, serving coffee, leading a youth group, and in general being where there was a need for her help.   

Toni is survived by her four children Peter (Theresa) Zimm of Phoenix, AZ, Tom (Rae) Zimm of Chicago, IL, Mary Adams (Richard Murphy) of Lexington, KY, and John (Nicole) Zimm of Waunakee, WI.  She is also survived by 8 grandchildren, Gabriel, Victoria, Eva, Erin, Henry, Calvin, Isaac and Daniel, as well as her brother, John Dimich. Toni is also survived by her dear friend Rodney Reigel. 

Toni is preceded in death by her second husband, Donald Ziemer, and her parents, Peter and Fran Dimich.

Special thanks to Toni’s long-time caregiver and daughter from another mother, Kris Wilson, as well as the staff of Maple Woods Assisted Living and Essentia Health Hospice who took loving care of Toni in her final months and days.

In honor of Toni’s final wishes, her family will meet privately at a later date to reminisce and celebrate her life.  Toni will be laid to rest in Iron River, WI, next to her beloved husband, Donald. Please visit Toni’s online obituary at to share your memories of Toni on the Memory Wall, as well as view and upload pictures of Toni. Arrangements are with the Libbey Funeral Home and Cremation Services of Grand Rapids, MN. 

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