Irmgard Henderson 100, of Carbondale, peacefully passed away Saturday, October 17, 2020 at Century Assisted Living.
Irmgard was born on May 11, 1920 to Franz and Rosa (Hormann) Steger in Schwarzenfeld, Germany.
Irmgard is survived by her son, Robert Henderson and his wife Lynda Martin, granddaughters Kristine Lundstrom (John) and Jennifer Jarvis (Will Casey); great-grandchildren Julia and Keith Lundstrom, and Natalie and Holden Jarvis.
Healthy and active into her 90’s, she will be remembered for her love of family and friends, self reliance, and zest for life. Irmgard grew up in southern Germany near Munich and was a young woman when World War II broke out. Her father and two brothers perished in the war. Her courage, tenacity and strong will helped her survive the challenges a young woman on her own experienced during wartime. These same strengths served her well in overcoming adversities she would face during the rest of her life and helped her develop a strong will to survive.
At the end of the war, Irmgard worked as an Interpreter with the American 5th Army in Heidelberg (due to her having learned English in school before the war.) While there she met and married her future husband (Arthur Henderson, Asst. Director of Education for the Military) and continued to work for the American forces in helping to rebuild Germany.
In 1949, she and Arthur moved to Chicago, Illinois and raised their son Robert where she learned about life in America (along with experiencing the anti-German sentiment of the 1950’s). Irmgard went on to develop a successful career as dining facilities manager, at the famed Palmer House in Chicago, and later at the Union League Club of Chicago.
After retirement, Irmgard would enthusiastically spend two months of every winter in Puerto Es Escondido, Mexico soaking up the sun and meeting up with old and new friends from the US, Canada, and Germany. In the summers, she would travel back to Germany to visit old friends and spend her days on the beach of Lake Michigan near her condo in Chicago. She continued her travels until she was almost 90 years old.
In her 70’s and 80’s, in between travels, she survived 3 knee replacements, 2 hips, a broken leg, along with an almost deadly staph infection that took 6 months to recover from. Irmgard lived on her own in her Chicago condominium until age 96, when she moved to Carbondale to be nearer to family. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, the family will hold a memorial at a later date.