Maria Hemmerling (formerly Sigrist) passed away peacefully from advanced Alzheimer’s on September 7th, 2021 in DePere Wisconsin. Maria was predeceased by her husband of over 50 years (Roy Hemmerling). She leaves behind her three children Roger Hemmerling of Wisconsin, Monika Schuler of Massachusetts, and Patricia Thompson of Kentucky as well as 9 grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren. She also leaves behind four sisters (Ellie Runzi, Anneliese Saleyka, Erika Dornberger, and Angelika Guenthner) in Germany.
Maria was born in 1942 in Blumberg Germany. She worked for some years rolling cigarettes in a factory in Germany before meeting her future American husband in a bar. She came to the United States in 1971 after marrying Roy (a United States veteran) in a small ceremony in Baumholder Germany. Upon arrival in the United States with her daughter Monika, she taught both herself and Monika English by watching television shows – particularly soap operas and nightly drama shows such as Dynasty and Dallas.
She was known as a meticulous housekeeper and collector of everything from dolphin knick-knacks to American baseball cards. For many years she worked as a Certified Nurses Assistant and was immensely loved and respected by her patients and co-workers. She loved baking and was known for her cake decorating and amazing German cheesecake made with American ingredients. She often shared these desserts with friends, co-workers, and later her patients. She also loved cooking for her family – a mix of German and American dishes with “secret” ingredients. Her son Roger favored her “homemade” spaghetti sauce recipe only to learn later much of it was from a can.
She had a morbid fear of flying – a significant challenge given her wish to travel occasionally back to Germany to visit with her family. On one trip to the United States she insisted on speaking personally with the pilot of the 747 prior to takeoff to ascertain if he was happily married. When he responded in the affirmative – only then did she board the plane. Alas after 9/11 – she never flew again.
Maria lived a full and sometimes complicated life challenged as she was at times from being so far from her birthplace and missing her sisters so very much. She was committed in every way to her husband a love that was witnessed by everyone – including the amazing caretakers at the Renne’s nursing home where they both lived their final years. Maria’s children would like to recognize and honor the caregivers at Rennes who grew to love both Maria and her husband Roy like family. We are so very grateful for the care they gave our parents.
In keeping with her wishes the family will hold a small private service and Maria will be cremated with her ashes spread in some of her favorite places including a beach in New Hampshire. Her remaining ashes will be brought back home to Germany by her children as soon as it is safe to travel in this COVID world. She will be profoundly missed by her children who encourage you all to give your mom just one more hug.