Teddy Joe (Ted) Zellmer



Teddy Joe (Ted) Zellmer, 83, Harrisonville, died Monday, December 10, 2018 at his home. Funeral services will be held at 10:00 a.m. Saturday, December 15, 2018 at the Cornerstone Community Church in Harrisonville. Burial will be in Orient Cemetery, Harrisonville. Memorial contributions may be made to the Cornerstone Community Church Memorial Fund.


Ted was born June 30, 1935 near Amsterdam, the son of Carl Henry “Hank” and Izola Fay (Conard) Zellmer. When Ted was young, the family relocated to the Hickory Grove Community south of Freeman. Ted attended Hickory Grove Rural School before graduating from Harrisonville High School in 1952. Ted continued with his education and received his Bachelor of Science in Agriculture from the University of Missouri in Columbia in 1956. He served in the Army Reserves from 1959-1964. He married Virginia “Ginny” Louise Purdy on June 30, 1957, at the Adrian Methodist Church in Adrian. Together they owned and operated a farm near Harrisonville. Ginny preceded him in death on January 14, 2015. He married Patricia Ann (Slocum) Sweet on July 8, 2017, and they enjoyed country life together on Ted’s cattle farm.


Ted was a farmer by profession and he was a nurturer in all that he touched. In addition to building a successful farm in both crops and livestock where he was known as a progressive innovator. Ted was active in nurturing his family, his agriculture industry, and his faith. Ted offered his time and expertise to serve in many agricultural organizations.


He served the Mizzou Agriculture Alumni Association as a member and then president, Cass County Farm Bureau in many capacities and offices, including president. He took his turn leading the Cass County Pork Producers and especially enjoyed working with the crew serving pork-burgers in the “Pork Shack” as a promotion for their commodity. Other agriculture related organizations in which he served in many capacities included the Cass County Soil and Water Conservation Board, The Missouri Pork Producers, the Farm Credit Services Board, and the Cass County Roads and Bridges Advisory Committee.


Ted was recognized with many service awards, received the Cass County Farm Management Award (Balanced Farming) along with his late wife Virginia, and Master Pork Producer from the Missouri Pork Producers. He was in The United States Army Reserves for six years and served as a Staff Sergeant. In all these service opportunities, he sought to improve the group and the circumstances of the members.


Ted was deeply committed in his Christian faith and enjoyed serving in several churches in various capacities. He invested in the Archie Methodist Church as lay leader, Sunday School teacher, worship leader, and, together with Ginny, led the youth group for several years. Throughout his life, he served in many key leadership roles in whatever church he attended. He was a charter member of Cornerstone Community Church in Harrisonville and managed the construction of the church’s building. He served as an Elder but especially enjoyed teaching adult Sunday school classes and encouraging others in their walk with the Lord. He was always available to fill the pulpit and was known for teaching “object lessons” involving toy wagons, tools, and agriculture parables. His energy and stamina were evident as he served at Cornerstone and he was once described as “a 20-year-old trapped in a 65-year-old body.”


Ted took great delight and responsibility in nurturing his family and was influential on each generation. His generosity and helping hands were available to all. He believed in the importance of education and influenced his children to excel. He believed in service and strongly influenced his family to be generous in giving their time to serve other people through organizations and in their careers. His high energy and enjoyment of any new project made him a valuable asset in assisting his family and friends with their own ventures. Ted was a great mentor to many in fathering, farming, faith matters, and serving others. Even in the last few years, along with his wife, Patt, he was always seeking to encourage others with a helping hand, a good visit, and a good laugh as they both enjoyed each other, their families, and whatever the next project was at hand.


Ted was preceded in death by his parents, his first wife, Ginny and one grandson, Brice Heid. He is survived by his wife, Patt, of the home; two daughters, Peggy Heid and husband, Brent, and Vicky Hartzler and husband, Lowell, all of Harrisonville; one brother, Fred Zellmer and wife, Linda, Freeman; 5 grandchildren, Jared, Devin, Landon, Caleb Heid and Tiffany Hartzler, and 4 great-grandchildren; Elaena, Avery, Arely, and Evana Heid; Patt’s children, Keith Sweet and wife, Janet, and Blake Sweet and wife, Patty; Patt’s 11 grandchildren; and 2 great-grandchildren.

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