Margaret Zamzow Priest passed away peacefully in her
apartment on Thursday October 15, 2015 at the age of 89.
Margaret was born October 22, 1925 in Meridian Idaho to
August L. and Carmalita Zamzow, one of six children. She had fond memories of growing up in what
was then rural Idaho. At the age of
seven, she became acutely ill from appendicitis. Although the doctors offered little hope for
her survival, her mother never lost hope and succeeded in nursing Margaret back
to health. Margaret never forgot the
sacrifices her family made during that time, and she always attributed her
survival to the loving care she received from her mother. During her adult life, Margaret made it her
special mission to make sure her mother always received the best care, and
visited with her every day until she passed away at the age of 104. In 1933, her father started what was to
become the Zamzows stores. She was very
proud of the success of the business which was carried on by her brothers and
later her nephews.
After graduating from high school, Margaret went to work for
the Idaho Power Company in a clerical role.
She was proud of the work she did for Idaho Power and she was extremely
pleased when many years later her oldest daughter, Mimzel, went to work for
Idaho Power as the first female attorney in the company’s legal department. Margaret also worked as a model for the Mode
Department Store. She married John D.
Priest in Boise on September 17, 1947.
They lived in southeast Boise, where John and his brother built a
successful machinery business. Unable to
have children of their own, they adopted three children to share their love
Margaret and John
were strong believers in giving back to the community and provided their time
and support to a wide variety of causes over the years. They felt it was important for the people of
Boise to have access to top quality health care and were long-time supporters
of St. Alphonsus Hospital. In the 1960s,
Margaret served on the St. Alphonsus Auxiliary.
During that time she was diagnosed with breast cancer and went through a
mastectomy. She responded to that
challenge by participating in the formation of the Idaho division of Reach to
Recovery, a national program sponsored by the American Cancer Society. In that program, she joined other survivors
of breast cancer to offer support and compassion to new victims of the
disease. In the 1980s, she and John
participated in starting St. Al’s annual Festival of Trees fundraiser. She enjoyed seeing the popularity and success
of that event grow over the years and attended every Festival since its
inception, helping to organize and host many of the events. In 1992, Margaret established the John D. and
Margaret Z. Priest Scholarship through St. Alphonsus to provide financial
assistance to nursing students. She went
on to serve on St. Al’s Foundation Board and, in 1995, she was selected as the
St. Alphonsus distinguished citizen.
Margaret and John were also big supporters of Bishop Kelly
High School. In the 1970s, when the high
school was struggling financially, she and John worked with other community
leaders to establish what has become the annual Bishop Kelly Winner’s Choice
dinner and auction event, which has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for
the school over the years. After her
husband passed away in 1985, Margaret honored his memory by funding an annual
scholarship to BK in his name. In 2002,
she was honored with the Order of the Knight award for her work in furthering
the interests of the Bishop Kelly Foundation and high school.
Margaret was a founding member of Our Lady of the Rosary
parish in 1947 and remained deeply involved in the parish throughout her
life. She volunteered her time on the
parish council and countless other boards, activities, and committees over the
years. In 1999, she received the Fr.
Peplinski Award for her years of service to the parish.
Some of her other activities included membership on the
Fundsy Board and serving on the Idaho Catholic Foundation Board.
She is survived by her son Shad Priest (Doreen), daughter
Carma Ortiz (Richard), grandson A.J. Terry (Karia), son-in-law Lynn Terry, and her
sister Evelyn Warren. She was preceded
in death by her husband, John, her daughter, Mimzel, and four of her siblings.
A viewing will be held at Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic
Church beginning at 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, October 20, followed by a vigil at
6:00 p.m. Funeral services will be at
Our Lady of the Rosary on Wednesday, October 21, at 1:00 p.m.
The family suggests memorial contributions to the Bishop
Kelly Foundation, St. Alphonsus Foundation, or cancer research.