Ilse Labrenz, 93 years old of Matteson, passed away peacefully at her home on Saturday November 21, 2020 surrounded by her loving children and grandchildren who adored her.She was born May 28, 1927 in Stuttgart, Germany, daughter of Wilhelm and Klara (Schleehauf) Greiner. Ilse outlived her three siblings— brother Helmut, brother Berthold and wife Emma, and sister Ella and husband Niko. Ilse lived through World War II as a teenager and moved to the United States in 1954. She first married Gerhardt Pfaender in 1955, two weeks after he moved to the U.S. and after seven years of being together. Their son Roy was born shortly thereafter. Unfortunately, Gerhardt passed away from testicular cancer in 1959. Gerhardt entrusted John Labrenz, his Ford Motor Company coworker and friend, to take care of Ilse after he passed away. John and Ilse were together for 35 years and married for 14 before he passed away in 1994 from a stroke. Ilse held many different jobs. Her first job after World War II was as an office secretary in Stuttgart for seven years. Her first job in the United States was at Beech-Nut baby food Company in Rochester, NY where she lived with her sister Ella. Two years later she moved on to work at Solo Cup in the Chicago area when her fiancée moved to the U.S. from Germany. She then worked at a bank until 1957 and eventually stopped working to raise her two children until 1982. She finished her working career at Carson Pirie Scott and worked there until she retired at 80 years old.
Ilse was a fun loving, easy going, and charming woman who enjoyed spending time with her family and friends, traveling, reading, and watching her favorite TV shows. In her younger years, you’d find her at the health club in a water aerobics class, or on a trip with her family in Italy, Florida, Las Vegas, Iowa, or Mexico. In her later years, you’d find her sitting on the couch in the home she built reading German romance novels or watching “Everyone Loves Raymond”, “Roseanne”, “Cash Cab”, or “The Amazing Race”. She always supported her family, whether that be encouraging them to follow their dreams or attending a volleyball or baseball game. She loved visiting with her family for her birthday and Christmas. She couldn’t wait to open her presents and always went first.
She is survived by her son Roy and daughter Joanie. Further survived by daughter-in-law Annie and son-in-law Bob, and her seven grandchildren – Tom, Elizabeth, Michael, Erin, Andrew, Matt and Katie. The family is planning on holding a private service at Ilse’s home on a date to be determined. Please contact a member of the family for details.”
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