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An amazing person and fabulous friend left us peacefully on Wednesday, May 21, 2014. Maria Theresa Zimmerer was born to Anne O. Elich and Keith Zimmerer on July 23, 1962. She was the youngest of three sisters raised on the Elich family farm outside of Roundup, Mont. Maria graduated from Roundup High School in 1980 where she was a gifted scholar, outstanding athlete, and a talented saxophone player. She went on to receive a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Services from Eastern Montana College in Billings.

Maria worked at various occupations in her short life. She spent her high school years happily working at the favorite local hangout, the A&W Drive-in, where she “got paid to be with her friends.” Maria passionately enjoyed working with troubled children and cherished her time employed at Youth Dynamics of Billings. While there, she met the McLean family and later worked for them at Budget Frames where she became skilled at selection, construction, and framing works of art.

Whenever time and weather allowed, Maria loved to walk the paths of Phipps Park with her three dogs Little Girl, Bear, Gus and friend Sue. Conquering the infamous Phipps hill two times a day, gave her hard earned bragging rights. Maria treasured nature and held precious all occasions spent camping, fishing, golfing, swimming, gardening, watching sunrises and sunsets, time in the mountains, anything which involved the outdoors.

Maria will be deeply missed by many loved ones especially her "soul sisters," Joan Conver, Sue Solomon, Teresa Stroebe and Patsy McKinnish. She cherished her lifelong relationships with her Roundup friends and classmates. She loved her "outlaw" families: the Stroebes, Teresa (Dahl) and Conrad, Marie, Ray, Elizabeth, Emily, Frank, Marion, Genevieve, Hannah, Chalice and Xavier; the Caters, Mary and Mike, Sara and Joe; the Dahl-Davis', Denise, Holland and Jens; the Reinharts, Linda (Dahl) and Dale, Michelle and Sean; the Jones', Anita (Dahl) and Reese, and Dan, Brielle, Erin, Tristan and Oohlah; the Petersons, Irene (Dahl) and Mark; the Wendels, Deana (Dahl) and Dave, Eileen and John; and Bernard and M'Lis Dahl. She is also survived by her sisters, Patty Elich and Kyle Elich and Kyle's children, Ivy, Molly and Patrick. She spoiled her dogs: Bear Cub, Little Girl, and Gus. She loved us all well.

She is preceded in death by her mother, Anne Elich; her beloved aunt, Mimi (Patricia) Haskell; and her niece, Marion Stroebe; and her nephew, Simon Reinhart.

Goodbye to “coulda, shoulda, wouldas” and hello to “forever free and happy.”

Maria’s wonderful spirit, joy, humor and talents will be celebrated Tuesday, June 3, at a noon Mass at St. Patrick’s Co-Cathedral in downtown Billings at 215 North 31st Street. Memorials in her name may be made to Youth Dynamics of Billings, or a charity of your choice.

Memories and photos may be shared online through Facebook at Maria Elich Dahl Memorial.

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