Our dear mother and the family matriarch, left us on November 21 at the marvelous age of 97. She was in her Brookfield home of over 60 years at the time of her passing. She was preceded in death by her beloved husband of 73 years, Robert Schreiber, and by her parents, Hugh and Henrietta Heck. Also preceded in death by her sister Lois Dorsey, brothers Hugh Heck Jr. and Jim Heck.
Mom is survived by four devoted sons, Dan (Jeanette) of Atlanta, GA., Tim (Kathy) of Brookfield, John (Janice) of Whitefish Bay and Tom (Kim) of Pewaukee. She is further survived by eight grandchildren and 13 great grandchildren, ages 1 to 18.
Mom was loved for her gentle spirit, kindness and caring. She and Dad raised the boys with firmness but also with a smile. The sons recall often being startled when Mom would confront them at the door as they were tip-toeing in after a very late night out as teenagers.
Mom made friends easily, always with a compliment and friendly smile, and our Dad, they were the dynamic duo, hosting neighborhood parties and dancing the night away to Nat King Cole records on the old VM phonograph in the basement rec room.
Her enduring positive attitude was acknowledged throughout her life. Even in her later years as her health began to decline, her family and her caregivers were amazed at Mom's upbeat demeanor. If there were challenges with family or friends, she would consistently look at the bright side, providing encouragement and saying that things would be ok. Her life was guided by something she would often tell her boys, if you have nothing nice to say about someone, don't say anything at all.
One of Mom's biggest joys was spending time with the great-grand children; she knew what everyone was doing, from the baby just starting to walk to the oldest starting college; she was keenly interested in their well-being. There was the time when the 5 year-old great grandson wanted to know if great-grandma Elaine could come out play defense in a touch football game with him.
Mom was known as a meticulous house keeper, everything neat and orderly in the house. The carpets were scrubbed, the kitchen spotless, no dust anywhere. It was when we discovered Mom running the vacuum cleaner one day recently while holding onto her walker that we decided to bring in some help, which of course she didn't think was necessary. Even just recently, she could spot a tiny crumb on the counter from across the kitchen and asked that it be removed immediately.
Mom had the biggest heart in the world. She lovingly supported her siblings in good times and bad. She would often reach out to help people with prayers, food, clothing or just a warm embrace. She enjoyed her time as a volunteer helping patients as one of the very first candy stripe staffers at Elmbrook Hospital in the 1970's. Mom gave of her time and talent, never asking for anything in return.
She was a skilled seamstress in her day, actually sewing together her own dresses and knitting the softest sweaters and caps for the grand kids that were masterpieces.
Our entire family owes so much to our Mom and to our Dad. They raised their boys with love, and taught them to love their wives and kids without limits. Mom encouraged the boys to always do their best and to be responsible for their actions. They set the standard on how to live a hopeful life, trusting God, appreciating the little things, having fun, treating all people with respect.
We salute our dear Mother for a life well spent!
The family would like to thank Paula Ockwood and her team of dedicated caregivers who lovingly supported Mom over the previous few years.
There will be a celebration of Elaine's life at St Joseph Catholic Church on Saturday, December 1st. The church is located at 12130 W. Center Street, Wauwatosa, WI. Visitation is from 9:30 AM to 10:45 AM with Mass following at 11:00 AM. Memorials may be made to St. Joseph Catholic Church in Elaine's name.
We ask those attending the visitation and/or Mass to please bring one long stem flower along to church. The flowers will be placed on the altar in honor of Elaine.