Ursula Helene (Garbe) Eilers went home to her Heavenly Father on Tuesday, December 31, 2019 at 5:30 a.m., at St. Francis hospital in Litchfield at the age of 85.
Born October 17, 1934 in Peterwitz Kreis Jauer, Schlesien, Germany the daughter of Fritz and Helene (Noack) Garbe, who farmed and ran a “Gasthaus”, or village pub.
World War two drove them, along with their entire village, out of their homeland when she was only 10 years old, trekking across the Sudetenland Mountains on horse and wagon in the middle of winter into Czechoslovakia to flee from the approaching Red Army. She witnessed untold atrocities and incredible suffering during these three months. All their possessions were eventually taken, including their horses. A quarter of the village perished during these times.
Resettled as refugees in Bavaria, her family were quartered in an outbuilding on a large manor estate owned by an elderly baroness. At age 11 Ursula had to get up at 4:30 each morning to light 12 fireplaces in the palace, where she worked until dark.
By the time she was 15, it was decided she should go to the USA. At barely 16, she bravely said goodbye to her parents and boarded the Queen Mary, sailing to America, a land where she didn’t know anyone or the language.
But how excited she was, she recalled, as she first glimpsed The Statue of Liberty!
Reinhold Kloss and his family, who had sponsored her to come to America, welcomed Ursula into their home in Mt. Olive Illinois, in 1950. She proudly took oath to become a citizen of the United States of America in 1954.
She worked at St. Francis Hospital, where the Franciscan Sisters taught her English. She later met another immigrant from Germany; Henry Eilers. They were wed September 19, 1959. Together they started the H. E. Nursery in Litchfield.
Ursula had a very sweet, kind and compassionate spirit. She loved her family and friends, and she loved her Savior Jesus Christ. Ursula was very busy volunteering at Zion Lutheran Church and School in Litchfield. She served on the Altar Guild, sang in the choir, the Ladies Aid and Parent Teacher’s League. It is to her credit for the idea that became the Sauerbraten Supper, an annual dinner fund raiser for Zion Lutheran School. This last November marked the 50th year. She also was a member of the Litchfield Zonta Club where she helped in planting the iconic Litchfield flowerpots along the main streets in town.
In her retirement years she enjoyed volunteering at St. Francis Gift Shop and Hearts United.
Ursula was happiest at home in her kitchen, where her passion was serving her family, and where she loved to serve anyone who stopped in. She was always quick with a pot of tea and coffee and some of her famous “streusel kuchen”.
She is survived by her husband of 60 years, Henry. They welcomed three daughters; Helen (Raymon) Trost of Litchfield, Elizabeth (Chris) Bron of Springfield, and Maria Eilers of Litchfield.
6 grandchildren: Derek Eairheart, Kent, Washington, Monica Osborn, North Carolina, Hannah Poetain, Edwardsville, IL, Parker Feldmann, Reno NV, and Christina Carlisle, Port Ste. Lucie Florida, Julia Brandtner, Litchfield, IL, and seven great-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Brother, Herbert Garbe, and a brother in infancy.
Visitation will be held at Zion Lutheran Church, 1301 N. State Street, Litchfield, IL. Saturday January 4, 2020, from 11:00 until the time of service. Funeral service will start at 1:00 pm. The Reverend Fred Kramer officiating. Burial will be in the Elmwood Cemetery. There will be refreshments after internment at Zion Lutheran Church. The Plummer Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
Memorials can be made to Zion Lutheran Church and School in Litchfield or Hearts United.
To send flowers to Ursula's family, please visit our floral section.
Zion Lutheran Church
1301 N. State St., Litchfield IL 62056
Litchfield IL 62056