Ellen Mae Wischmeyer Wermcrantz

Ellen Mae Wischmeyer Wermcrantz, wife, mom, grandma, aunt, friend, accomplished traveler, thrift shopper, jokester, teacher, crafter, church-goer, and all-around amazing woman died suddenly from a cardiac arrest on May 11, 2022 at the age of 76 at St. John’s Hospital in Springfield, Illinois. She was born April 1, 1946, in Chicago, Illinois, to Clamor and Mildred (Erickson) Wischmeyer.

Ellen’s remarkable life took her many places. First to Chicago where she was born and raised alongside her sisters and brothers Carolyn (Don) Erikson, Nancy (Ed) Duffy, George (Linda) Wischmeyer, and David (Diane) Wischmeyer. She attended Luther North High School on Chicago’s northside, where she met many friends she still holds close to this day.

It was while attending Valparaiso University in Valparaiso, Indiana that she met her husband of 53 years, Steve Wermcrantz, and she earned her degree in English and her teaching certificate. She then taught high school English in Schaumburg, Illinois, and Portage, Indiana, while Steve finished law school at Valparaiso University. From Valparaiso she and Steve moved to Rhode Island where Steve was commissioned an officer in the Navy’s Judge Advocate General’s Corps. Ellen’s life continued in places such as North Carolina, California, Washington state, and London, England. Her first daughter, Liz Wermcrantz, was born in North Carolina in 1970, and her second daughter, Susan Wermcrantz Davis, was born in Chicago in 1973.

After London, Ellen and her family settled in Kansas City, where they lived for ten years. During this time, Ellen taught preschool, and then kindergarten at Calvary Lutheran School. She was the type of teacher and role model to her students that inspired children to run straight to her upon sight and jump in for a hug. Her daughters attended Calvary Lutheran School, where they also met lifelong friends—friends who loved Ellen so much they too called her “Mom.” Everywhere she went, people fell in love with her warm, generous heart, her creativity, her sense of humor, her cleverness, and with how well she took care of everyone around her.

From Kansas City, her family moved to Springfield, Illinois in 1987 where Ellen worked for the Illinois Department of Human Services, while also squeezing in multiple trips around the world. She worked there for 20 years until her retirement in 2008, and she still counts many of her coworkers as dear friends.

Looking back on her life, things that stand out the most are all the friends she made along the way and how many people just plain loved her. Each place she lived she made true-blue lifelong friends who were still active parts of her life. Most recently, she ran with a group of women who dubbed themselves “The Pew Crew”—best friends who sat in the same pew at church each service for years and who went on adventures together, had weekly lunches, were there for each other during hard times, teased each other, and laughed hysterically every time they were together. They formed bonds most of us strive for—bonds of friendship, love, caring, laughter, and support of the deepest kind.

Ellen was a bright, shiny ball of light and energy and love and hilarity and goofiness and had a heart as big as the universe. She had close friends coming out of every nook and cranny of the world, all the way back from her young childhood 70+ years ago. She touched so many people and knew so much love in her life. And she heaped love on those around her every single day. If you knew her, you understand.

She leaves behind her loving husband and fellow adventurer of 53 years, Steve, her daughters Liz and Susan (Geoff), her grandkids Mimi, Lyla, Macey, and Alex who loved her with their whole entire hearts, her sister Carolyn, brothers George and David, and a gaggle of nieces, nephews, cousins, friends and neighbors, all of whom should be listed but that would take up this whole newspaper. In leaving us, she joins in heaven her mom and dad, Millie and Clamor Wischmeyer, her sister and BFF Nancy Duffy, and her dear goddaughter and niece Jill Ann Erikson Alcozer.

The world is forever changed.

Memorial Gathering: 4-7 pm, Monday, May 16, 2022 at Staab Funeral Home – Springfield.

Memorial Service: 1pm, Tuesday, May 17, 2022 at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church – Springfield with Pastor Brenden Harrell officiating.

Burial will follow at a later date at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, 2645 Old Jacksonville Rd, Springfield, IL 62704.

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