Clara Zimmerman, 92, Wellington: May 16, 1928 – July 1, 2020

Clara Zimmerman

Clara Frances Zimmerman, 92, of Wellington, died on July 1, 2020.  Clara was born on May 16, 1928 in Wichita, to John Mathias and Ernestine (Schwenker) Neises. 

When Clara was a child the family moved to the rural Belle Plaine area where she grew up participating in the family farming operation until she left home for college.  She attended Mount Zion rural school and graduated from Belle Plaine High School in 1946. She was a member of the Cicero 4-H club where she met her future husband, Reitzel. 

She attended Kansas State University during which time she studied horticulture and homemaking.  She married Reitzel Howard Zimmerman on May 16, 1949 and settled on the Zimmerman family farm where they raised their eight children. Clara was a member of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Oxford until the early years of her marriage when she and Reitzel began attending Mass at St. Anthony’s in Wellington. 

She served in many roles in the church and was an active member of the Cicero area EHU club for many years.  She also served as a leader for the Clippers 4-H club of which many of her children were members.  She also is known for having served on Sumner County election boards for several elections. She is survived by her brother John of Geuda Springs KS, sisters Betty Smith (Maynard) of Scranton, KS, Vivian Ward (Truman) of Topeka KS, Beverly Scobee (Don) of Belle Plaine KS, children Mary Louise Mele, of Hoffman Estates, IL, Lindley (Sheila), Howard (Glenda), Dennis (Deborah) all of Belle Plaine, KS, Debora Brettell Odor (Clark) of Columbia, MO, Theresa Johnson (Rusty) of Wichita, KS, Chris (Cristy) of Valley Center, KS, and Tim (Catherine) of Wellington KS, 45 grandchildren, 43 great grandchildren and numerous nieces, nephews, relatives, friends and neighbors.  Clara is preceded in death by her parents, brothers Theodore, Jim, Albert, and Ed, sisters Louise, Helen, and Pat.  Son-in law John E. Brettell, Granddaughter-in-law Stormie B. Zimmerman, Grandchildren Tina Ruth, Lindley John, and Great Granddaughter Cadance Marie.

A viewing for Clara will be held at the funeral home from 12 to 6 p.m., Friday, July 3, 2020.  Please adhere to the current public gathering guidelines when attending.

Due to COVID-19 and associated church restrictions, a private Rosary and private Funeral Mass will both be held at St. Anthony – St. Rose Catholic Church in Wellington.  Interment will follow at the Oxford Cemetery in Oxford. Extended family and friends are welcome to attend the Interment which will begin at approximately 11:45 a.m. on July 4.

Memorial funds have been established in her name with The Lord’s Diner, (PREF) Priest Retirement & Education Fund and Good Shepherd Hospice.  Contributions can be mailed or left with the funeral home.

Click the following link for information regarding any available live streams for Clara Zimmerman:

To share a memory, leave condolences, send flowers or sign her tribute wall, please visit

Arrangements by Cornejo Day Funeral Home & Crematory, 1030 Mission Road, Wellington, KS.

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