Gloria May Zellmer was born on March 13, 1947, to Bert and Marie (Nelson) VanderWal in Volga, South Dakota. She was raised on the family farm in Volga and graduated from Sioux Valley High School in 1965. Following her graduation, she furthered her education at Nettleton Business College and relocated to Sioux Falls, South Dakota where she resided for four years. During this time, Gloria worked at Raven Industries and later went on to have a career as an optician in Sioux Falls and Dell Rapids, South Dakota, including her time with Eyesite (formerly Howlin Vision Clinic). On June 14, 1969, Gloria was united in marriage to Robert Zellmer in Volga, South Dakota. They made their first home in Dell Rapids before moving to the Zellmer farm in Sherman, South Dakota. They continued to reside here for the entirety of the years they were blessed to have shared. On Wednesday, March 25, 2020, Gloria died peacefully at the Bethany Home in Brandon, South Dakota at the age of 73 years and 13 days.
Gloria was a member of the Jasper Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jasper, Minnesota. She was a member of the senior choir in addition to various circle and WELCA groups. She also served on the church council, as church treasurer, and as a Sunday School Teacher. Gloria was a master sewer, making formal gowns for weddings and proms for her daughters, granddaughters, and friends. She was also a skilled baker, with specialties f bars, cookies, cakes, dinner rolls, and lefse. Gloria loved to spend time tending to her gardens. The priceless memories made while traveling the country with Bob were definitely highlights of her life. She will be remembered as an amazing, strong woman who was always willing to lend a hand to those that needed it. She cared deeply for her children and grandchildren, never hesitating to get to their level and play on the floor, or read them endless stories at bedtime.
Gloria is survived by her husband, Robert Zellmer of Sherman; children, Lisa (Brett) Turnquist of Maple Grove, Minnesota, Sheila (James) Haugen of Bath, South Dakota, and Scott (Carin) Zellmer of Dell Rapids; nine grandchildren, Emma and Connor Turnquist, Paige, Zachary, and Kiera Haugen, and Ian, Kaiden, Liam, and Eliana Zellmer; and siblings, Larry (Janice) VanderWal of Volga; Darwin (Kathy) VanderWal of Kalamazoo, Michigan, and Joyce Carmen of Madison, South Dakota. She was preceded in death by her parents, Bert ad Marie VanderWal.
**Due to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Guidelines, there will be a private event limited to immediate family only at this time. Please consider sharing a memory, thought, or photo here on Gloria’s Tribute Wall or reaching out to her family directly with words of encouragement and support during this challenging time. They would love to hear from you and would appreciate your prayers.