Elsie K. Herdegen

Elsie Katherine Herdegen (nee Schmid), 87, a former longtime resident of Riverside, died peacefully in Richmond, Virginia, on June 21, 2021. 

Ms. Herdegen was a first generation German American, born to Katherine and John Schmid, formerly of Dachau, Germany, on Sept. 6, 1933. She was raised in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago after her parents fled their Nazi-occupied home in Dachau. 

She graduated from St. Theresa’s Catholic Grade School in 1947. It was there that she met her childhood sweetheart and the love of her life, James Joseph Herdegen. She attended Waller High School, after which she went to Jones Commercial High School for secretarial studies. 

After graduating secretarial school, Ms. Herdegen worked in Chicago’s financial district on LaSalle Street. She and Jim Herdegen were married on Sept. 25, 1954. Later in her career, she served as a presidential administrative assistant at the university level. 

Throughout her life, Ms. Herdegen excelled at sewing, gardening and cooking. She will be lovingly remembered for her roast chicken, mashed potatoes and sunset cookies. 

As a parishioner of St. Mary Catholic Church in Riverside, she participated on the gardening committee and enjoyed working on the church grounds. She was a devoted caretaker of so many loved ones, including her mother, Katherine, for whom she cared in her own home during her final years; to her husband Jim during his long-term illness and passing in 1997; and to her grandchildren Kristen and Jimmy, for whom she cared from infancy to high school. 

During her final days, Ms. Herdegen was lovingly cared for by the staff at The Haven in Brandermill Woods, Midlothian, Virginia, and Crater Community Hospice Agency.

While Elsie was preceded in death by her husband Jim, she is survived by her daughter, Karen Ann Kelley (Bob); son, Dr. James Joseph Herdegen Jr. (Sue); grandchildren, Katelyn Kelley Harris (Austin), Megan Elise Kelley, Kristen Elise Herdegen, and James Joseph Herdegen III; great-grandson, Anson; sister, Erna Baumgartner; and many beloved nieces and nephews. 

A funeral Mass was celebrated June 26 at St. Mary Church, followed by interment at St. Joseph Cemetery. Memorial donations can be made to the Alzheimer’s Association at www.alz.org. 

Ivins-Moravecek Funeral Home, Riverside, handled arrangements.