Irene Zillman Seim

May 29, 1929 - July 11, 2020

Irene Zillman Seim passed peacefully into the arms of her Savior on the afternoon of July 11, 2020 at Arden Courts Memory Care Community, Geneva, IL.  The cause of death was Alzheimer’s disease.

Irene was born May 29, 1929 to Rane [S1] and John Bakker of Mt. Olive, IL and was baptized, educated, and confirmed at Immanuel Lutheran Church and School in that tiny coal-mining community. Although her father died when she was six years old, she and her two sisters graduated from the local high school and all three headed for college, Irene to Illinois State Normal University on a scholarship.

While enrolled there, she met a World War II veteran, Orville J. “Zeke” Zillman of Danville, IL at the Lutheran Club located on campus.  They married following her sophomore year and proceeded to move about the Midwest following his positions as principal of public elementary schools in Cabery and Rossville, IL, Muncie, IN, Clyde, OH and Barrington, IL. The family, now with five children in tow, subsequently moved to Westville, IL, where Zeke served as school superintendent for one year, then to Wheaton, IL where he began his work with the Illinois Department of Corrections as superintendent of educational and vocational training at juvenile facilities throughout the state. 

Upon Zeke’s untimely death in 1972, Irene worked in a number of retail and municipal staff positions, notably the Wheaton Public Library, as a means to support her five children, all graduates of Wheaton Central High School. The family remained active members of St. John Lutheran Church during their school years as well.

During these years, and as all five children moved on to college, Irene made the decision to complete her own college education and enrolled at Concordia Teachers College (now Concordia University Chicago), graduated with her Bachelor’s degree in Education in 1978 and received a Call as a Lutheran Teacher to teach third and fourth grade at Bethel Lutheran School in Westmont, IL.

Shortly after beginning her teaching career, she married Orville Seim, also widowed and a member of St. John, who had retired from a chemical engineer position at Argonne National Laboratory. Following his death in 1993, now retired from teaching, Irene actively continued to be mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother, hosting family gatherings at her Wheaton home on Christmas Eve, for birthdays and Sunday evening pizza or lasagna feasts.  She continued to be active at St. John’s for worship and Bible classes and faithfully attended her grandchildren’s school events, Confirmations, and high school and college graduations. Emerging symptoms of Alzheimer’s imposed limits on travel, then necessitated assisted living and, finally, required full-time memory and hospice care at Arden Courts, Geneva, IL.

Irene Zillman Seim was preceded in death by her husbands as noted, her parents, John and Rane Bakker, her older and younger sisters, Margaret (Arlen Dahlhaus) of Lake Orion, MI and Evelyn (Fred Klinge) of Collinsville, IL.  She was mother (mother-in-law) to Louise Zillman Glymph, John (Lynne Velguth) Zillman, Suzanne Zillman, Timothy (Carla Haas) Zillman, and Thomas (Joanne Teske) Zillman; grandmother of Sarah (Aaron) Sebby, Thomas Glymph, Cathy (Adam) Zastrow, Rebecca (Richard) Rezny, Amy Zillman, Claire Zillman, Ken (Jessica Sult) Zillman and Laura Zillman.  Her great-grandchildren are Emma and Isabelle Zastrow and Eleanor and Jackson Sebby. 

Visitation will be held 4:00 P.M. until 8:00 P.M. Wednesday, July 15, 2020 at Moss Family Funeral Home 209 South Batavia Ave. Batavia, IL.  Due to COVID-19 and the rules surrounding social distancing the visitation will abide by occupancy requirements limited to 50 visitors.  All visitors entering the church are required to wear a face covering.  Due to the number of people who would like to pay their respects, we ask that you make your visitation a brief one. Once you have had your visit, we ask that you depart immediately.  There should be no gatherings inside or outside of the funeral home facility.  The family appreciates your sincere cooperation during these very challenging and different times.  For additional clarification, please contact the funeral home. 

Funeral services will be held 11:00 A.M. Thursday, July 16, 2020 at Immanuel Lutheran Church 950 Hart Road Batavia, IL.  She will lie in state at the church from 10:00 A.M. until the time of the service.    Interment will follow in Wheaton Cemetery in Wheaton, IL. 

In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to Immanuel Lutheran Church, Batavia, IL, the Spiritus Christi Scholarship Endowment at Concordia University Foundation, River Forest, IL or the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America.

 [S1]Ranste I think. Check with Joyce.

Guest Book

  • Selvanayaki Dr. Zillman, My deepest condolences on the loss of your mother. May her Soul Rest In Peace.
  • Lydia Hosek I am so sorry for your loss - praying for your comfort.
  • Bill and Shari Rietschel John, May you and your family feel the comfort of His arms around you during this difficult time.
  • Gail And Steve Clausing Our condolences to the family of Irene Zillman Seim. Our thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time.
  • Paul Bucchi I am very sorry for your loss, Dr. Zillman. Your mom sounds like she was a fantastic person. Her biography tells of a great journey in life. She is in God's hands now forever. Paul Concordia University Chicago-College of Business
  • Betsy Karkan John, God's blessings to you and your family as you mourn your mother's death. May His peace be with you as you celebrate her life of faith! Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. John 11:25-26
  • Mary Zaharis Dear Dr. Zillman and Family, May God grant you and your family comfort and may the memory of your beloved mother be eternal. She leaves an example as a follower of Christ for those who knew and loved her and for those of us who did not have that blessing. God rest her soul!
  • Mia Garcia-Hills Dr. Z, From the story about her life in the obituary, I can see Irene was a woman with a strong work ethic who was enjoyed having fun and nourished the hearts and bellies of the family she raised and loved. I am grateful that your mom taught you to be a man of integrity and compassion. My prayers are with you and your family.
  • Christine Wedekind John, my deepest sympathy on the death of your mother. You and your family will be in my prayers.
  • Andrew Steinmann John, My deepest sympathies at the death of your mother. Yet we mourn not as the world mourn, because we look forward to the resurrection in Christ Jesus. Andy