Elsie Eva Foerstner, 97, formerly of Amana, was a woman ahead of her times. She helped trailblaze a high school education for students in the Amana Colonies in Iowa in 1931. Not many teens had access to high school prior to that in the colonies, the religious community where Elsie was born on March 28, 1917 to Carl and Wilhelmine Heistermann Foerstner. She dreamed of going to college and a state legislator, impressed by this young girl’s ability to quote one of his speeches verbatim, found her a job in state government in Des Moines. She saved almost every dime to go to the University of Iowa.
She majored in business, graduated in 1941 and moved to Chicago, building a career at Kraft Foods. She came to town just months before the attack on Pearl Harbor brought America into World War II and she volunteered with service organization such as the USO as newly enlisted troops poured through the city. She returned home frequently to Iowa to visit family and cheer on the Hawkeyes for home games. A world traveler, she explored Europe, India, China, Japan, South Korea, Egypt, Israel and many other spots. She served as the president of the University of Iowa Alumni Association Chicago and as the chaplain of her Chicago P.E.O. chapter.
She loved to harmonize songs and recite poems with her oldest brother William, who lived in Chicago. And she enjoyed talking politics and business with her older brother Harold, an engineer in Yuma, Arizona. Nieces and nephews and their children and grandchildren adored visits with Aunt Elsie. She died on April 30 under Hospice care in her Chicago apartment. She was preceded in death by her two brothers. She is survived and celebrated by her nieces and nephews Carl Foerstner, Abigail Foerstner (Arthur Caudy), June Foerstner Lee (Ken), Clarke Foerstner, Jim Foerstner (Debbie), Lee Wayne Foerstner (Sylvia) and Rick Foerstner; by 19 grandnieces and nephews; and by 27 great grandnieces and nephews.