08 February 2007

Erika Elfriede Schmitz Maurer, 1929-2007

My mother, Erika Maurer, died on Saturday, February 3, in a hospital in Waukegan, Illinois, north of Chicago.

She was born in Kobe, Japan, on November 27, 1929, and grew up in that city. She and her parents were among the estimated 1600 long-term German residents in Japan at the beginning of World War II; her parents, Emma and Paul Schmitz, had arrived in 1905. In 1948, she and her parents were deported by the occupation forces and moved to Stuttgart. She finished high school there (at Hölderlin-Gymnasium), went to Ruprecht-Karl University in Heidelberg, and from there transferred to Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. At Northwestern she met her future husband, Harald Maurer (1930-1995), who had transferred there from the University of Oslo.

In June 1952, she graduated from Northwestern with a B.S., and married Harald three days later. In 1955 she received her M.A. and soon began her teaching career. For most of her career she taught German language and literature at Roosevelt University in Chicago. At the time of her death, she was a resident of Arbor View Nursing Home in Zion, Illinois.

My mother is survived by my sister Renee and me. Our sister Ellen died in 1970.

That's all I feel able to write. My mother deserves a public obituary, and I don't know for sure where else she'll get one. The private version is another story.

Tuesday PS: We will hold a memorial meeting for Erika at Arbor View Nursing Home in Zion, Illinois, on Saturday, March 3, at 2 p.m.

Many thanks to Sharon Brown for this most recent photo (left), and for her friendship to both of my parents in their last years.

Update: For more about my quest to find out about my mom and her parents, see the posts that begin here (slow boat to Japan).


Martin Kelley said...

Oh Johan, my prayers are with you right now. What a remarkable life story she had, I hope you will find a way to share it publicly someday.
Yours, Martin

smith said...

much love to you.

Anonymous said...

My heart goes out to you in this hour, in your grief.

Johan Maurer said...

Thanks, Friends!!!!

Perez said...

Sorry to hear about your mother. Wish you the best.


Anonymous said...

dear friend johan
peace be unto you and your loved ones.

Robin M. said...

May you find peace with your memories.


Anonymous said...

Our prayers are with you at this loss. Thank you for sharing some of your life's difficult journey.
Lloyd & Marilyn

Johan Maurer said...

Words fail me. Thanks so much. Prayer does keep me grounded in reality. I've updated the post to reflect the plans my sister and I are making to have a memorial meeting in Zion early next month. Ironically, my mother hated funerals--she didn't have one for Ellen and was not planning to have one for her husband. (We had one anyway.) It is impossible to think of not having a memorial meeting for such a memorable person.

Unknown said...

Johan, I am really sorry to read this news, I pray the peace of Christ is with you and your family.

Anonymous said...

I was very sad to read about the death of your mother. You were more than there for me and my family on the day that Laura passed away. It makes me sad to know that I am just now finding out about this! So wonderful to sit by the two of you the other night. I never did get around to checking in with either of you. Much, much love to all four of you. You and the boys are still often on my mind and in my prayers. Much love, Michele G.