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Elfriede Luise Henrich Fritz Gwillim

September 28, 1920 – November 3, 2017

Elfriede Luise Henrich Fritz Gwillim, long-time Excelsior Springs resident entered God’s Eternal Grace in Denver, Colorado, on November 3, 2017.

Elfriede nee Henrich was born in Marburg, Germany on September 28, 1920. In 1954 she and her American husband, Master Sergeant John F. Gwillim and their two young daughters, Irmgard Christiana (Chris) and Heidemarie Angelika (Heidi) moved to America settling first in Lorain, Ohio. After many return trips to Germany where John was stationed with the U.S. Army they returned to the U.S. to settle in Missouri. In Missouri they joined her sisters Irmgard (Irmi) Brandenburg, Hilde Will and their husbands Don Brandenburg and Fred Will. The sisters were inseparable.

Elfriede quickly learned her adoptive country’s language and customs. She eagerly adopted this country’s capitalism becoming a life-long entrepreneur. She joined the workforce in the 1960s. By the 1970s she became the first woman to hold the position of Plant Superintendent for Taylor Cable in Kansas City, Missouri. Elfriede had a broad independent streak that often moved her past the tradition of the day­—at work and in fashion.

After retirement she established her own cleaning business in Excelsior Springs. Elfriede also became an avid artist.

Three years ago Elfriede moved to Denver to be closer to some of her family members. After a rousing 97th birthday party, her health declined rapidly.

While Elfriede lived for a few years in Omaha, Nebraska, in the 1990s and the last three years in Denver, she always called Excelsior Springs home.

Elfriede is survived by her daughter, Chris Furr (Bill); granddaughter, Vicki Kanaan (Ramzi); great granddaughters; Sophia and Chloe; grandson, Scott Furr (Helen); great grandchildren, Dorian, Livia, Hannalea; daughter, Heidi McGinness Secor; grandson, Christopher McGinness (Curtis); great granddaughter, Gloria; grandsons, Rich Secor (Sharon) great grandsons, Spencer and Nico; grandson, Brian McGinness (Kent); nieces, Ann Brandenburg, Dorothy Will (John), nephew, Jorg Will (Maria)  and family. And a large circle of friends and family in heaven and on earth.

Sister Irmgard Christiana Brandenburg preceded her in death. Sister Hildegarde Sophia Will died a day after Elfriede on Nov. 4, 2017.

Both sisters will have their Service of Witness to the Resurrection on Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017 at 10 a.m. at Bross & Spidle Funeral Home in Excelsior Springs. The Committal Service follows immediately afterwards at the Old New Garden South Cemetery of Excelsior Springs.

By Jae Juarez • jae@leaderpress.com

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