Hertha Holstein, 89, of Oak Park, passed away peacefully at home, ending her battle with Alzheimer’s disease.
She will be remembered by her husband of 69 years, Herman, sons Mark (Connie) Holstein, David (Cindy) Holstein of Mabank, TX, daughters Beth Holstein (Oliver Hemmann) and Carla Luttinen, 12 grandchildren, and 7 great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her parents Herbert and Esther, her brother Herbert and son-in-law Charles Luttinen.
Hertha was a woman of deep faith, compelled to share the love of Christ with the world. She was quick to open her house, her time, and her heart to those in need. In her Lutheran church, she found the opportunity and means to make a difference and serve others.
An advocate for education, she earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Concordia University Chicago and taught primary grades at Christ Lutheran Church, Oak Park and St. Paul Lutheran School, Melrose Park for 32 years. She never stopped improving herself, continuing her education with numerous post-graduate courses. She was an enthusiastic mentor of student teachers, taking great pride in her role of shaping future educators.
Hertha was a leader in bringing the Gospel to children with intellectual disabilities. She founded the first-ever Sunday School program in her church for children with intellectual disabilities, which she taught for 13 years. She developed her own curriculum for vacation bible school and Sunday morning lessons, which she even self-published. These lessons were purchased by people all over the US and abroad. God blessed this ministry as Hertha had many requests for advice and her materials. She was awarded the Christus Magister Award from the Lutheran Education Association for her pioneering work.
Her support for people with disabilities also extended to veterans at Hines/Vaughan Veteran Administration Hospital. Hertha and her family regularly visited, transporting veterans to services at the chapel to spread hope and healing.
Hertha also praised God through her creative talents. For several years, she organized craft fairs at her church to raise funds for Christian programs. Hertha was musically gifted and served as an assistant church organist at multiple churches for more than 30 years and sang in the St. John Choir from her teenage years until she was 87 years old.
During retirement, Hertha planned and led summer Bible retreats for women at her house at Paddock Lake for 14 years. An avid crafter, Hertha knitted lap robes for veterans and made blankets and hats for patients at a children’s hospital. A loving mother, aunt, grandmother, and great-grandmother, she hosted family get-togethers and always had a stash of homemade cookies for everyone. Herman and Hertha created lifelong memories for family and friends at the lake house year-round.
Through all her activities, God gave her the wisdom and energy to serve Him. God truly blessed this woman of faith and blessed others through her service to God.
A visitation will be held Thursday, May 23 at St. John Lutheran Church, 305 Circle Ave., Forest Park, Illinois from 10-11:30 a.m., followed by a funeral service at 11:30 a.m. officiated by Pastor Payton. Interment will be at 4 p.m. at Chapel Hill Gardens West Cemetery, 17W201 Roosevelt Rd., Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois.
Memorial gifts may be made to St. John Lutheran Church Music Fund, Walther Christian Academy and Concordia University Chicago.