Friday, March 3, 2017
4:30 PM to 6:30 PM CST
Allen-Meredith Funeral Home
103 West Main Street
Evansville, WI 53536
and Saturday at the Evansville United Methodist Church from 10:30 a.m. until time of service at 11:00 a.m.
Saturday, March 4, 2017
11:00 AM CST
Evansville United Methodist Church
21 S. Madison Street
Evansville, WI 53538
At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
Memorials may be given in Elfriede's name to the Humane Society of Southern Wisconsin
222 S. Arch Street
Janesville, WI 53548
JDRF (Western Wisconsin Chapter)
434 S. Yellowstone Drive Ste 201
Madison, WI 53719
5395 East Cheryl Pkwy
Fitchburg, WI 53711
Life Story / Obituary
December 4, 1924 – February 24, 2017
Our most beloved and cherished mother and grandmother, Elfriede Fabrizius Gaertner Eager passed on February 24, 2017 at the age of 92. She was born in Giessen, Germany on December 4, 1924. She grew up in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. Her father, Adam Gaertner, was a chemist employed by IG Farben. Her mother, Paula Fabrizius Gaertner, was at home with her and her younger brother, Wilhelm 'Willi' Gaertner. As a young person, her interests included ballet dancing, gymnastics, fencing, horseback riding, and reading. At age 14 she remembered climbing a street lamp pole, during a military parade, to see the new chancellor of Germany, Adolf Hitler.
As she continued her teenage studies she spent a year on a farm as was required by the new German government. This was done to educate city children on agricultural life. She had good stories about that year including one where she let the pigs out of their pen so she could clean it. While she was cleaning the pen the pigs were making havoc of the village; which the villagers did not appreciate!
In 1939 the Nazi Party assembled the Jewish residents of Frankfurt in the local sports arena for transport. Her father took her there and showed her what was happening. He knew it was not good and he told her "Germany will have to pay for this". Elfriede's parents refused to join the Nazi party.
In 1942, at age 17, Elfriede joined the German Air Force Signal Corps. She was a teletypist in Communications and stationed in Paris, France. Shortly thereafter she was asked by the French Underground to help their cause by passing them information of the German maneuvers. She agreed after they explained to her the Nazis atrocities. Eventually a member of her Underground group was caught and gave her up to the Gestapo. She was arrested by the Gestapo and escorted back to Frankfurt. She was interrogated and imprisoned. Of course she escaped and ran home (That's our determined, feisty girl!) but her father convinced her that she needed to return which she did. She was then confined at a finishing school in Leipzig, Germany, until 1944. Elfriede remembered well a night in September of 1944 when she and her mother were totally bombed out of their home.
After the war Elfriede studied at the Berlitz International School of Language to refine her English which she had studied through her years of schooling. Due to her competency in English she was able to work for the Deutsche American News Agency, as a teletypist, from 1946-1948 during the Nuremberg trials. Elfriede also was a secretary to the military governor in Bad Nauheim and a court interpreter. She was an adventurous and confident young woman.
During this post war period Elfriede met her husband-to-be, Richard Boyce Eager. He had been stationed in Budingen with the Counter-Intelligence Corps (CIC) to search out Nazis. After his duties were completed in 1947, he went back to the states. Elfriede came to the states in 1948, more specifically California. While living in California she modeled for the Caroline Leonetti Modeling Agency in Hollywood from 1949-1950, which included modeling for I. Magnin. Elfreide and Richard kept in touch and eventually married in 1950 in Pasadena, CA.
In 1951 Richard was called back into military service for the Korean War, they moved to Ft. Meade, Maryland. The summer of 1952, after Richard's discharge, the two of them and their two children, Timothy and Eloise, moved to Evansville to live. They had 3 more children Friedl, Rick, and Heidi. During the children's growing years, Elfriede stayed at home with the children. In 1954 she studied, took the U.S. Citizenship Exam, and with flying colors became an American citizen. Elfriede served on the Board of Directors of the Rock County Mental Health Association 1968-71, was a member of the Health Planning Council-Madison 1971, was a Red Cross volunteer at the VA Hospital-Madison, a Hospice volunteer at UW-Hospital, taught Sunday School for thirteen years at the United Methodist Church, where they were members, was church secretary to Pastor Eldon Riggs, and was a member of the Republican Women of Rock County. Elfriede taught a modeling class at the Y.M.C.A.-Janesville. She coordinated a modeling show for the Evansville community besides doing modeling at Manchester’s in Madison and other venues.
Elfriede also accompanied her husband to numerous meetings and conventions with the Rock County Board of Supervisors and also with the National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution and for her service was awarded the Martha Washington Medal.
Elfriede was a loving, intelligent, interesting, and well-read wife to her husband. In the evening, after the children were asleep, they would read books out loud together. They traveled all over Europe, Canada, Mexico, and the United States as a couple and later as a family. They discussed all kinds of topics at all levels and he valued her opinion. She loved the opera, the theater, and to dance, especially fun dances like the jitterbug.
To her children and her grandchildren she was kind, loving, generous and interactive. She was a good listener; she wanted you to tell her whatever your problem was because she genuinely wanted to be there for you. To the world Elfriede was cosmopolitan; a beautiful woman from a thriving European city, well dressed and a lady. She loved children and animals so strongly, to the point that, they were drawn to her.
Elfriede was preceded in death by her parents, her brother, her eldest son Timothy Boyce Eager and her husband Richard of 65 years. She is survived by her four children Eloise Paula Eager (Fred Juergens), Friedl G. Eager, Richard Wilhelm Eager (Ann), Heidi Susan Eager-Bryson (Darryl); her grandchildren Lindsay Seavert (Allen) Reese (Denver) and Ethan Louis Allen, and her great grandchildren Hayden Louis, Lily Hanna, and Dawson Dennis Reese. She is also survived by nephews and nieces including two nephews in Frankfurt, Germany, Andreas and Juergen Gaertner, a brother-in-law Leonard P. Eager, Jr., a sister-in-law Diana Willemsen Eager, her kind caregiver, Consuelo Mendoza, and Consuelo's spitfire 17 month old daughter Renata, who Mother greatly enjoyed. And finally let us not forget her sleek, black cat Sammy!
Visitation will be held at the Allen-Meredith Funeral Home, 103 W. Main St., Evansville, WI, Friday, March 3, 2017, from 4:30 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. and Saturday, March 4 at the church from 10:30 a.m. until the time of the service at 11 a.m. Funeral Services will be held at the Evansville United Methodist Church, 21 S. Madison St. Evansville, WI, on Saturday, March 4, 2017 at 11 a.m., presided by Pastor Norman Bude. Interment will follow at Maple Hill Cemetery. Memorials may be given in Elfriede's name to the Humane Society of Southern Wisconsin, JDRF (Western WI Chapter), or Agrace Hospice - Fitchburg.