Else Lina Anna Eickstedt (nee Dauer), passed away in Millcreek, Utah on Feb. 12, 2022. She succumbed to pneumonia after several falls. She went to be with the LORD and Savior, Jesus Christ, three days after her 92nd birthday. Always committed to the Lutheran Church, Else grew in her Christian faith. A favorite passage, often recited in later years, was Psalm 91.
Born Feb. 9, 1930, in Eltville, Germany, she grew up in Schlangenbad, a thermal springs town in the Taunus Mountains. Only in later years did Else share a little about being a child and teenager in Nazi Germany. Those hard times of hunger as well as suppression of free thinking, ingrained in her, the habits of personal thriftiness while sharing with others; evaluating authority figures; and speaking out when necessary.
Like many young German immigrants, in the 1920s, Else’s parents came to America to be near relatives who had settled earlier in Wisconsin. The two met each other at a German club and went back to marry in Germany, carrying with them their new understandings of the American ways of life and American English.
Else was the first of their three girls. The girls grew up while the world went to war. Due to their parents’ previous exposure to life in the United States, their home eventually became a welcome respite for young GIs after the American occupation of the Rhineland.
Like her parents had, Else left Germany for work. At 20, she accepted a childcare position in England. Her goal was to learn proper English. In 1952, she immigrated to the United States. She was processed through Ellis Island where, today, a memorial plaque bears her name. A Wisconsin family member had sponsored her and eventually she found a job in West Bend. There she met Raymond W. Eickstedt and they married on Dec. 13, 1953. They raised five children in Mequon, Wisconsin. Else became a United States citizen on Nov. 14, 1963, and thereafter proudly flew the flag.
In 1972, the family moved to Jackson, Wyoming and fell in love with the Tetons and the Yellowstone region. Raymond worked for Imeson Aviation at the Jackson Hole Airport, while Else worked at Lumley Drug Store. Being a skilled aircraft mechanic and inspector, he was soon invited to start his own business at Hunt Field Airport in Lander, Wyoming. Else and her husband started Pronghorn Aero Service in 1974. She kept the books while Raymond provided his mechanic skills and sold aviation fuel.
In addition to the business, Else assisted her husband with projects such as upholstery work for airplanes and building a home near the airport with a beautiful view of the Wind River Mountains. She also worked for many years at McRae’s Drugstore and then at the Wyoming State Training School. When she made time for herself, she was an avid reader. She enjoyed taking care of plants, indoors and out, and would often be found with a watering can in hand.
After Raymond died in 1992, Else still kept busy. She started an annual memorial Fly-In at Hunt Field. In time, she began traveling. Else found new friends in Elderhostel and Habitat for Humanity groups. She loved to care for babies, and assisted seniors, including family members.
In 2008, Else moved to Salt Lake City, closer to her daughter, Angela and granddaughter, Amelia.
In recent years, Else felt honored that a collection of her family’s trans-Atlantic correspondences was put on display at the Ballinstadt Emigration Museum in Hamburg, Germany. These letters paint a picture of the compelling need for families to remain connected despite separation by an ocean, wars, and later, The Wall.
Else is survived by daughters Yvonne E. Eickstedt of Lander, Wyoming, Erica M. Eickstedt of Millcreek, Utah, Ingrid U. Eickstedt of Powell, Wyoming, and Angela K. (Rhett) Vance of Salt Lake City, Utah, granddaughters Heidi (John) Moser of Pocatello, Idaho, Amy (Gabriel) Durand of Grand Forks, North Dakota, and Amelia Vance of Salt Lake City, Utah. Else also has seven great grandchildren. Nieces, cousins and others Else cherished, still reside in Germany and the United States.
Else was preceded in death by her beloved husband Raymond Walter Eickstedt, son Raymond Alexander Eickstedt, sisters Erika Hegwer (nee Dauer), and Ursel Dauer, father August W. Dauer and mother Elsa S. Dauer (nee Graupner).
Else’s ashes will be interred at Mount Hope Cemetery in Lander, Wyoming during a graveside service. That date is yet to be determined. Details will be posted on Else’s memorial page at www.premierfuneral.com where memories and condolences are welcome.