Friday, November 7, 2008

Rest in Peace, Grandma Elly

In this video my grandma is talking about her "witchy" grandmother-in-law.

I am writing to share with you the experience of my Grandma Elly's passing on Wednesday. It feels sad and we are going to miss her, but we are so also very happy for her. It is such a blessing for her to be liberated from her 88 year old earthly body, which hasn't been working very well in recent years.

It was a beautiful passing, very peaceful, and my mom, my uncle, and I were all there with her at the very end. I was so blessed to be holding her hand as she took her last breath. It was so wonderful to see her resting so peacefully, after a life filled with so much hard work.

I was so grateful to be able to tell her, one last time, how thankful I am for all of her hard work (I have had many wonderful opportunities in my life because of her - in fact, I wouldn't exist at all if it weren't for her - and I am very aware of this), how much I love her, and how proud I am to be her granddaughter.

She was SUCH an incredible woman, and I feel so deeply blessed and privileged to be her granddaughter. She was a woman of great integrity, determination, and faith. People have already been telling us how much they are going to miss Elly's stories - she entertained us with them for hours. She was a "straight shooter" - always telling it like it was, a hard worker, and SO very feisty, sassy, and utterly hilarious. And since she lived in West Bend, Wisconsin from the day she was born until the day she died, she knew A LOT of people. She was beloved by many - we are expecting 1,000+ people at the funeral tomorrow. She was quite the woman about town. :)

The funeral visitation will be held at Phillips Funeral Home, which is built on the land that used to be the farm where my grandma grew up. And she will be buried with a perfect Sheepshead hand in her hands. Sheepshead was her favorite card game - she loved to gamble.

The aftermath of her death will be a long, emotional rollercoaster for our family, especially my mom and her brother Ed, so please pray for peace and comfort for everyone who knew this very special lady named Elly. Thank you - I can feel your love radiating from miles away. :)

And here is her obituary, which my mom and I wrote.

Eleanor (Vogt) Ihlenfeld went home to the Lord on November 5, 2008, after 88 years of life. She was surrounded by her family, and filled with God's peace, at the time of her death.

Elly was born to Nicholas and Helena (Jansen) Vogt on October 1, 1920 in West Bend. She was raised on her family's farm, where she helped operate Oak Lawn Dairy. She graduated from West Bend High School in the class of 1938. Then, on November 3, 1945, Elly married Ed Ihlenfeld at Holy Angels Church in West Bend. Together, they operated a dairy farm and raised two children, Ethel and Ed. Elly also worked as the secretary to the vice president of the West Bend Company. Later, she completed a medical record transcription course and became the Director of Medical Records at the Cedar Lake Home. Then, since Elly always had her finger on the pulse of West Bend, she decided to run for County Board Supervisor. She was elected and served 12 years. A lifelong resident of West Bend, she was committed to serving the best interests of her community. She was always willing to lend a helping hand to those in need. She also served her community by volunteering her time as the secretary of the American Red Cross, and was a charter member of St. Frances Cabrini. Her pride and joy was her family, and she also cherished her many friends. She loved traveling, playing cards, gardening, socializing, and keeping up with current events.

Elly is survived by her daughter, Ethel Pillman, and her son Ed (Julie) Ihlenfeld. She is also survived by her four grandchildren: Erin Pillman, Michael (Katie) Pillman, and Edison and Alissa Ihlenfeld. She is further survived by other family and friends. Elly was preceded in death by her husband, Ed, her sisters Helen Oelhafen and Therese Oelhafen, her brothers Clarence, Carl, and Denis Vogt, and her grandson, Joseph Raymond Ihlenfeld.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Saturday, November 8, 2008 at 12:30 pm at St. Frances Cabrini with Father Jeffrey Haines officiating. Interment at Holy Angels Cemetery following the mass. Visitation will be at the Phillip Funeral Home Chapel of West Bend from 9:00 am – 12:00 pm with closing of casket payers to follow.

In lieu of flowers, memorials are appreciated to St. Frances Cabrini School, Food for the Poor, or a charity of the donor's choice.

Our family extends a special thank you to the staff at River Way Place in West Bend, the staff at Aurora Medical Center of Washington County in Hartford, and Dr. Muhammad Mian.

1 comment:

Linda said...

Erin, this is really, really nice! I loved Aunt Ellie - she was so much fun. I could listen for hours to her funny stories about growing up with my naughty Dad, Denis!! Peace to you!