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Published June 30, 2013, 12:00 AM

Leon Kent Zimmerman

Leon Kent Zimmerman, 64, left what he considered the most peaceful place on earth for the most peaceful place of all, on June 25, 2013.

Kent was born on May 28, 1949 in Wolf Point, Montana to Lester and Karien (Welsch) Zimmerman. A natural story and joke teller, he loved to reminisce about his childhood in a town where everyone knew his name. His family moved from Wolf Point and ultimately landed in Moorhead, Minnesota in 1962 where his parents owned the Coast to Coast store. Kent was the president of the last class to graduate from the Moorhead State Campus School where he had the highest academic success, music honors and was All Conference in football and basketball. He attended Concordia College, Moorhead Minnesota where he made the Concert Choir as a freshman but elected to play football instead. Upon graduation in 1971, he accepted a position with the college as an Admissions Counselor, where again he had great success recruiting students from southern Minnesota. He also was the admissions counselor for the Concert Choir and joined them on their tours, either driving ahead in his Firebird or riding on the bus where he played countless games of hearts (with the students usually ganging up on him). In 1979, he joined good friend, Bill Sorensen, at BISI where he worked until 1988. He then had a successful career in mortgage banking, retiring from Wells Fargo in 2005. In retirement he boasted he was CEO of JZ Enterprises, explaining that he took care of everything for the love of his life, Jean.

Leon Kent Zimmerman

Leon Kent Zimmerman, 64, left what he considered the most peaceful place on earth for the most peaceful place of all, on June 25, 2013.

Kent was born on May 28, 1949 in Wolf Point, Montana to Lester and Karien (Welsch) Zimmerman. A natural story and joke teller, he loved to reminisce about his childhood in a town where everyone knew his name. His family moved from Wolf Point and ultimately landed in Moorhead, Minnesota in 1962 where his parents owned the Coast to Coast store. Kent was the president of the last class to graduate from the Moorhead State Campus School where he had the highest academic success, music honors and was All Conference in football and basketball. He attended Concordia College, Moorhead Minnesota where he made the Concert Choir as a freshman but elected to play football instead. Upon graduation in 1971, he accepted a position with the college as an Admissions Counselor, where again he had great success recruiting students from southern Minnesota. He also was the admissions counselor for the Concert Choir and joined them on their tours, either driving ahead in his Firebird or riding on the bus where he played countless games of hearts (with the students usually ganging up on him). In 1979, he joined good friend, Bill Sorensen, at BISI where he worked until 1988. He then had a successful career in mortgage banking, retiring from Wells Fargo in 2005. In retirement he boasted he was CEO of JZ Enterprises, explaining that he took care of everything for the love of his life, Jean.

In the summer of 1976, he met Jean Aarthun when she was good friend Bill Sorensen's, magician assistant in Medora, ND. They were married on August 12, 1978 at Trinity Lutheran in Bismarck, ND. The center of his universe was his two boys, Andrew, 27, and Micah, 22. From grade school through Drew's college years, he attended every basketball, track, baseball, and football game. He learned to appreciate soccer through Micah, where again he attended every game, no matter the distance. He was in awe of Micah's artistic abilities, especially his photography. In their early childhood, Kent started his special day tradition where he would spend the day individually with them doing whatever they wanted. As adults, the boys will miss his insistent daily connection with them. Kent and Jean traveled the world through incentive trips one of them had earned, making good friends and having the time of their life. They sang together in the Olivet Lutheran Choir, Fargo where again he had a ready joke to tell and whose leadership will be missed. Kent served as the treasurer of the Olivet Foundation where his attention to detail was wisely put to use. He also was instrumental in leading the Be-Friender Ministry at Olivet. This service was a perfect fit for a person who was friend to all. Lastly, he was chairman of the Olivet Lutheran expansion project, coining the phrase "Because We Are Called."

Kent's wit and ability to put everyone at ease was a gift. His absence will leave a hole in the lives of his many friends and especially his family. If there was a theme in the Zimmerman household, it was having fun. He loved to cook and always over prepared. He was a natural care-giver who always wanted people to be fed, physically and spiritually. He had a deep faith that he fed through reading books, attending bible studies, and quietly witnessing to others. These were the only times that he didn't use humor, but instead asked deep, soul searching questions. Kent had a near death experience a year ago and he confidently told his friends that he could not wait to go back. He now knows all the mysteries of life.

Kent loved the Minnesota Twins and rarely missed watching a game on one of his many TVs, no matter their ranking and no matter the score. This spring Drew took him to the opening game at Target Field where the two of them had their "special day" weekend. Later this spring, Kent and Micah took a road trip to Portland, Maine where they attended the wedding of one of the many youth Kent mentored, having a week of special days. The weekend before Kent's death, Jean took him to Cleveland to see a Twins series and where they, in Kent's words, "had a blast." All three will treasure these last special times with a man they adored and loved.

Kent and Jean purchased their dream lake home in the summer of 2011 in Nevis, Minnesota. He loved the peacefulness of the lake and found every reason possible to run up there to finish another project or plan a surprise for Jean. It gives his family comfort to know he spent his last moments on this earth at a place he loved and where he was preparing for Jean to join him in just a few days.

Kent is survived by his wife, Jean; sons, Drew and Micah; beloved Boston Terriers, Abby, Missy, and Lily; mother, Karien, all Fargo; brother, Bruce of Spokane, Washington; mother-in-law Clara Aarthun, Moorhead; brother-in-law, John Aarthun (Reese) of Wausau, Wisconsin; sister-in-law, Carol Lower of Dilworth, Minnesota; and nephews and nieces Leif Terslin, Larissa Terslin, Anitra Kurtzweil (Kevin) and their children Clara and Drew, Arick Aarthun; and countless friends who all knew they were "best".

Kent joins his father, Lester, his much loved Boston Terriers, Pepper and K.C., his father-in-law, Martin Aarthun, his sister-in-law Susan Zimmerman and brother-in-law, Robert Lower in eternal life. We know he is filling our heavenly home with song and laughter.

Kent's life will be celebrated at a visitation and prayer service on Monday, July 1, from 5:00 P.M. to 7:00 P.M. with a prayer service following at Olivet Lutheran Church, Fargo, ND. The funeral service will be on Tuesday, July 2, at 11:00 A.M. also at Olivet Lutheran Church.

Please sign Kent's guestbook and share memories at www.hansonrunsvold.com/obituaries/Kent-Zimmerman. Hanson-Runsvold Funeral Home, Fargo is handling the arrangements. Memorial gifts can be made to the Olivet Building Fund.

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