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Elizabeth Wissler


1917 - 2014 Obituary Condolences
Elizabeth Wissler Obituary
Elizabeth Anne Wissler, 96, a social worker and long-time resident and supporter of the Hyde Park community, died on April 2 at Montgomery Place in Chicago, IL. Betty worked with the Red Cross during World War II, attending to the needs of soldiers' families in Chicago. After the war she spent many years at the Chicago Child Care Society, placing children for adoption and foster care and aiding their parents, and also worked as a medical social worker in the University of Chicago's pediatric clinic. With her late husband, Dr. Robert Wissler, Professor of Pathology at the University of Chicago, Betty participated in organizing the Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference which was formed in 1949 to build and maintain a stable interracial community. She was a volunteer home worker and helped recruit volunteer doctors for Meridian Hospice in the 1980s when it provided the first hospice care for Chicago's South Side residents. After retiring, Betty helped plan the development of Montgomery Place and she and Bob became early residents there in 1991. She was an active member of the First Unitarian Church in Hyde Park for more than 60 years. Betty was born Elizabeth Anne Polk in New Castle, IN on November 11, 1917. She and Bob were high school sweethearts and both graduated from Earlham College in Richmond, IN in 1939 where Betty was a biology major. After graduation Betty and Bob moved to Hyde Park to begin graduate studies at the University of Chicago. They were married in 1940 and became committed lifetime residents of Hyde Park with their four children. Betty organized family camping trips, traveled with Bob to Europe, Japan, Australia and Egypt, and hosted gatherings of students, faculty and family at the Wissler cottage in the Michigan dunes. She knew about and delighted in nature, and taught her children and grandchildren about the real birds and bees, and wildflowers. She and Bob loved their sabbatical year in Bern, Switzerland and returned often to Kandersteg in the Swiss Alps. Her favorite family time was Thanksgiving. Her children and grandchildren continue to make her recipes for artichoke dip and turkey gravy with their own families. Betty is specially remembered by her children for her early teaching by word and example that, regardless of their variety, all people are inherently equal and to be valued. Betty was predeceased by her husband Robert Wissler, son David Wissler, and sister Mary Polk. She is survived by three children, Barbara Mayers, Mary Graham and John Wissler; six grandchildren, Joshua Mayers, Leah Mayers, Liza Graham, Laura O'Shaughnessy, Will Graham and Molly Graham; and four great-grandchildren, Ben and Emily Mayers and Peter and Charlotte O'Shaughnessy. A memorial service is planned for 9 A.M. Saturday June 7 at Montgomery Place.
Published in a Chicago Tribune Media Group Publication from Apr. 25 to Apr. 27, 2014
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