Age 94 of St. Paul. Died peacefully Feb. 19, 2023, with family by her side and in the West 7th St. neighborhood that she loved.
Elaine was born in St. Bonifacius, Minn., to John and Margaret (Fick) Widmer. She and her nine siblings were raised on a family farm where they spoke German in the home. She enjoyed a happy childhood and often recalled how she, her sister and their eight brothers fielded their own baseball team.
Elaine married Francis H. “Bud” Wandschneider on Sept. 24, 1946. They started a family in Shakopee, then settled into a house on St. Paul’s West End where she lived the remainder of her life. They had nine children.
Bud worked at the Ford Motor Co. assembly plant. He died Nov. 25, 1980, at age 58. Elaine never remarried and ran a popular in-home daycare business for 21 years.
She was a cheerful, welcoming neighbor who hosted countless chats on her front porch, kitchen table and backyard swing. She volunteered as a local election judge, school aide and food shelf helper. At St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church, she was a eucharistic minister, sang in the funeral choir, volunteered at funeral lunches and provided rides to Sunday mass.
Every year, Elaine tended to a large vegetable garden in her backyard, where she also planted sunflowers. She took great pride in her century-old, two-story home. Her daily routine included watching TV for local news, polka and Wheel of Fortune.
Elaine was an excellent card player and loved poker, blackjack or sheepshead – especially when played at conversation-filled family gatherings. She enjoyed occasional casino outings and never missed a day of reading the newspaper. She also was a talented baker known for her rhubarb cake, banana bread and sugar cookies.
Elaine was a beacon of strength for her family and she leaves behind a legacy of love.
She is survived by her children Dorothy, Bonnie Bialucha, Roger (Sharon), Greg (Robyn), Michael, Michelle and Melissa (Tony) Kennedy; sister Mary Klein; 13 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband Bud; sons Jerome and Mark; son-in-law Don Bialucha and her eight Widmer brothers.
Funeral mass at 11 a.m. Saturday, March 11, with visitation two hours prior at Church of St. Francis de Sales, 650 Palace Ave., St. Paul. Private burial Monday.