Lillian Fiehler – 11/16/1929 – 11/2/2018

Lillian Fiehler 11-17-2010

Tiny Altenburg said goodbye to one of its best-known members on Wednesday, November 7, 2018. Lillian (Schilling) Fiehler was a long-time resident of the town of 352, a member of the Bucket Brigade, and one of The Last Generation to speak German as a primary language growing up.

I feel like I have to tell a little about Lillian’s town before I dive into her life. (You can click on the photos to make them larger, then use your arrow keys to step through them.)

When I showed up at the Lutheran Heritage Center and Museum on Nov. 17, 2010, with an armload of photos of Wittenberg, it never dawned on my how it would change the way I look at my pictures. The diminutive Lillian introduced me to museum director Carla Jordan, who handed me off  to Wilmar Degenhardt, who was astounded to find that I had taken aerial photos of the house he was born in.

Decorating Christmas trees

Lillian Fiehler working on Altenburg Museum Christmas Tree exhibit 11-17-2011

It wasn’t long before I found myself making regular 66-mile round trips to the museum where I would watch volunteers like Lillian working on things like the annual Christmas tree exhibit (which they are decorating right now, by the way).

Insular, but friendly

Mother, Jessica Cyders with MO folks 10-29-2013

The amazing thing about Altenburg, one of eight German-Saxon communities founded in the 1830s, was how it could be both insular and extraordinarily welcoming.,

One day when I complimented Wilmar on how well homes were maintained, and how the yards were well-kept, he leaned over conspiratorially and all but whispered, “Yeah, but the ENGLISH are coming.” That he shared that with me made me feel like I was accepted.

When I took Mother and Curator Jessica to the Mississippi Mud (now Grayson’s Bar & Grill), It wasn’t long before Lillian’s son, Gerard pulled up a chair. Soon chairs were scraping across the floor to be be occupied by Schmidts, Deganhardts and others with Deutch-sounding names.

You’ll never find yourself eating alone at Grayson’s.

Gerard and his dad

I’ve spent many hours sitting with Gerard at Tower Rock, watching logs drifting to New Orleans, and waiting for the whirlpool the natives called The Demon That Devours Travelers to spin up.

In 2014, I did a video of Gerard talking about his dad, Bob, who was drafted at age 19 to go fight in the Battle of the Bulge as a tank driver. It’s worth watching.

I worry a little about Gerard. At the end of the video, he says, “One of my sisters said that “You didn’t just lose your dad. You lost your best friend.” Many of the stories that his dad told him ended with the tagline, “Don’t tell your mom.” Now, unfortunately, he won’t have that option.

Lillian’s obituary

Lillian Fiehler 07-16-2013

Lillian Marie (Schilling) Fiehler, 88, of Altenburg, was taken home to be with the Lord, Friday, November 2, 2018.

    She was born November 16, 1929, in Altenburg, daughter of  Rudy and Clara (Loebs) Schilling.  She was baptized and confirmed at Trinity Lutheran Church where she worshiped her entire life. 

    Lillian married Robert (Bob) Fiehler on June 18, 1950.  Their marriage was blessed with five children:  Gerard Fiehler, Altenburg; Susan Fiehler, St Louis; Carla (Kent) Grebing, Altenburg; Ellen (John) Linxwiler, St. Louis; and Timothy Fiehler, St Louis.  She is also survived by five grandchildren:  Jacob (Sarah) Fiehler, Alison (Brian) Funke, Barrett (Chrysta) Grebing, Nick (Sarah) Fiehler, and Ben Linxwiler.  Also, seven great-grandchildren; Jack, Faith, and Blythe Funke, Ella and Vivian Fiehler, Theo Grebing, and Aubrey Fiehler.

Lillian Fiehler 07-16-2013

       Survivors also include two brothers and two sisters, Myrtle Kuehnert, Melvin (Mary) Schilling, Lorene (Leonard) Haertling, and Harold (Deb) Schilling and one sister-in-law, Lois Kersten, and numerous other family and friends. 

    Lillian was preceded in death by her parents, her husband, brothers, Raymond Schilling, Leonard Schilling, and a grandson, Wade Fiehler

    Lillian spent many enjoyable years serving numerous families as part of the “East Perry County Bucket Brigade.”  Many of these families became part of her extended “family.”  She also enjoyed her many carpool friends.  

    Throughout Lillian’s life, she participated in a variety of church activities including singing in the Trinity Choir, LWML, and serving as a docent at the Lutheran Heritage Center

Lillian Fiehler 07-16-2013

    Lillian’s greatest passion in life was caring for her son, Tim, who has Down Syndrome.  She exercised great zeal for Tim to know the Lord and be active in church and the community.  The family is grateful for the care that Tim receives at the Emmaus Group Home. 

    Lillian will always be remembered for her beautiful yard, love of cooking, baking, sewing and hosting people in her home. 

    Lillian enjoyed living at Independence Care and her family will always be grateful for the care that she received in her years there as a resident. 

St. Joseph Catholic Church

St Joseph Catholic Church cemetery 06-09-2016Shortly after Road Warriorette Shari and I photographed Luther’s Chapel Cemetery in Perry County’s Union Township, we turned into Apple Creek to explore St. Joseph Catholic Church Cemetery.

Click on the photos to make them larger.

Town originally called Schnurbusch

St Joseph Catholic Church cemetery 06-09-2016Apple Creek was originally named after a prominent family in the area, and there is a stone expressing appreciation to W. Joseph Schnurbusch for donating the land for the church.

German Catholic immigrants built the first St. Joseph church in 1828; the log structure was used for 12 years, then was replaced by the “Rock Church.” The present brick building was constructed between 1881-1884.

It’s a peaceful place

St Joseph Catholic Church cemetery 06-09-2016The grounds are full of crosses and the usual statuary.

The rules are pretty clear

St Joseph Catholic Church cemetery 06-09-2016The Joint Parish Council is pretty clear about what it will and won’t allow in the cemetery.

If you don’t follow the rules, you might be hauled into the Parish Office, where knuckle-rapping might be on the list of punishments meted out. (A convent was added to the church in 1917.)

 

I was framing a group of crosses

St Joseph Catholic Church cemetery 06-09-2016I was trying to frame a photo of the crosses in the background when my eye was drawn to something beside me off to the right.

What’s with the red rope?

St Joseph Catholic Church cemetery 06-09-2016A stone marking the final resting place of what I think was a long-dead priest held a wrapping of red rope. When I looked closer, it wasn’t just wrapped around the stone, part of it was going up into the tree.

This didn’t exactly break any rules, but it sure seemed odd.

A decoy?

St Joseph Catholic Church cemetery 06-09-2016The rope was looped around a tree branch, and hanging from the end of it, swinging in the breeze, was something that looked like a duck or goose decoy. There was no good way to get a shot of it short of climbing the tree, and y’all don’t pay me enough to exert that much energy.

The stone was old, and the rope had faded enough that it had been there a relatively long time. I’d love to know the story behind this.

We missed the most interesting part

St Joseph Catholic Church cemetery 06-09-2016When I got back to talking with my Jackson and Altenburg museum friends, they said we had missed the most beautiful and unusual part of the church grounds. They were right. I’ll publish photos from that area soon.