Obituaries » Elisabeth Reitzug (Klaffke)

September 27, 1923 - June 18, 2019

Funeral Service Date
June 26, 2019
Funeral Service Time
10:30 am

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Elisabeth Reitzug, 95, of Fort Wayne passed into eternal life on June 18, 2019 at St.Anne Home in Fort Wayne, Indiana. She was born on September 27, 1923, in the village of Lauterhagen in East Prussia, Germany, to Albert and Anna Klaffke. When Elisabeth was only 13 years-old, her father passed away. As the third oldest of eleven children, she took on management of the family finances. After finishing high school, Elisabeth was awarded a scholarship to study English and French at the Foreign Language School of the University of Leipzig. Always an over-achiever, Elisabeth took on the additional challenge of learning Bulgarian. After finishing her coursework Elisabeth was hired by the University Library to translate English, French and even Bulgarian documents. In January 1945, just months before the end of the Second World War, Elisabeth returned to the family home in Mehlsack, East Prussia, to marry her longtime sweetheart, Nikolaus Reitzug, who was then a pilot in the Luftwaffe. Within hours of their wedding, the Soviet invasion of East Prussia began, and the newlyweds were forced to escape from their homeland. On foot and via troop transport through blizzard conditions, they made their way West. Nikolaus eventually rejoined his squadron and Elisabeth returned to her work at the University. Ten weeks later, during an aerial attack on Leipzig, Elisabeth was buried alive in an underground bunker. Miraculously, she and her cellar mates were able to claw their way out. In 1956 Elisabeth and Nikolaus emigrated to the United States with their five oldest children. Over the ensuing years four more siblings would bless the newly minted American family. They settled in Fort Wayne, where they were members of St. Jude parish for more than six decades. Elisabeth was involved in the St. Jude Social Action Committee and as a Eucharistic Minister. She crocheted blankets for cancer patients and babysat for little ones to allow their mothers to attend Bible Study. But she was happiest when she was providing for her own large family, whether that meant preparing a meal for her hungry horde – applying a band aid to a scrape or patching a broken heart – cheering her kids on at sporting events, or helping them with homework. She considered her family her greatest blessing. She celebrated the uniqueness of each of her children. Her familial love extended to all her kids’ spouses, “the in-laws and the outlaws,” as she liked to say with a twinkle in her eye. In her presence newcomers to the family immediately felt welcome. When Elisabeth spoke with a person, they knew she cared about them and they were the center of her universe. During her later years, nothing pleased her more than hearing stories of her grandchildren and great grandchildren. Even into her 90’s Mrs. Reitzug was an avid Scrabble player winning more matches than she lost! Mrs. Reitzug was preceded in death by her husband Nikolaus Reitzug and an infant daughter, Esther. She is survived by sons, Henry (Anne), Ulrich (Mary), Mathias (Connie), Christopher (Sherri), and daughters, Monika Leonard (Ed), Angelika Day (Paul), Maria Wolfe (Bill), and Marcella Andrade (Gustavo); by 23 grandchildren and 27 great-grandchildren. Six of Mrs. Reitzug’s ten siblings preceded her in death. Three surviving sisters live in Germany, and one surviving brother, Johannes Klaffke (Marianne), lives in Fort Wayne. Mass of Christian Burial for Mrs. Reitzug will take place Wednesday, June 26 at 10:30 a.m. at St. Jude Catholic church, 2130 Pemberton Dr. Calling one hour prior to the Mass. Visitation at Divine Mercy Funeral Home on the grounds of the Catholic Cemetery, 3500 Lake Ave, Fort Wayne, will be on Tuesday, June 25, from 2:00-4:00 p.m. and 6:00 – 8:00 p.m., Rosary at 3:30. Preferred memorials are to St. Anne’s Home, Bishop Dwenger Scholarship Fund, and St. Jude Social Action Committee. To sign the online guest book, go to

Visitation Information:

Divine Mercy Funeral Home

Phone: 260-426-2044

Address: 3500 Lake Avenue Fort Wayne Indiana, 46805

rosary at 3:30pm

Visitation Date

June 25, 2019

Visitation Time

02:00 pm – 04:00 pm

06:00 pm – 08:00 pm

Additional Info

rosary at 3:30pm

Funeral Service Information:

St. Jude Catholic Church-Fort Wayne

Phone: 260-484-6609

Address: 2155 Randallia Fort Wayne IN, 46805

Service Date: June 25, 2019

Service Time: 2:00 pm

Service Notes: calling one hour prior at church

Funeral Service Date

June 26, 2019

Funeral Service Time

10:30 am

Additional Info

calling one hour prior at church

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