Marvel A. Elbe

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Marvel Ann (Kahler, Schaal) Elbe, 97, passed away on Saturday, Nov. 3, 2018. She was born Jan. 30, 1921, in Gillett to the late Walter and Olanda (Piepenberg) Kahler. She was raised on the family farm where hard work ethics were instilled. She said she always enjoyed the farm life, the work and the animals.

Marvel enjoyed music her whole life and in high school played in the school band, but also played with her brother, Harold, in a band. Music was a big part of most of her life. She was musically gifted and could play any instrument by “EAR.” Marvel was stone deaf in one ear. Her big Hammond organ was her joy, and the music was amazing. We could hum a tune, and she could play it.

She married Clarence Schaal, and they had two children, Nancy and Richard.

Marvel worked at the Gillett Telephone Co., which was run by her dear friend and sister-in-law, Liz Schaal. Marvel had a huge garden and enjoyed doing many projects for their home. She was one of those special beings that if she put her mind to doing something, she would accomplish it. Their home needed new cupboards, she built them, and when it needed a new roof, she put it on. They needed to add a bedroom, she did it. Marvel took the hardwood flooring from the old Gillett Grade School and put it in their living room. She was a master of many trades.

Clarence and Marvel moved to Green Bay in 1956, and she started work at Green Bay Clothing. The owner soon saw her potential, and she climbed the ladder fast to become a leader. She always shared that she would not ask anyone to do anything that she would not do herself. She was loved and respected. Marvel was an avid Packer Backer, and the owner of Green Bay Clothing, Mr. Fogel, had gifted her with season Packers tickets. She could scream along with the rest of them.

Marvel was then asked to be supervising manager of North Trail Sportswear in Green Bay, and ran the factory which employed between 40 and 50 people. They produced outerwear for companies like London Fog. She also taught at NWTC in the construction of snowmobile suits.

Her husband died in 1962. A few years later, she married Robert Elbe, who said he was waiting for her. He treated her like a princess. They enjoyed dancing and had joined dance clubs and went where the Big Bands played. They were amazing dancers. Marvel also enjoyed snowmobiling with family and friends, and for many years she enjoyed riding her moped.

Bob and Marvel had the ELBE CHRISTMAS TREE FARM out of Mountain, where they had retired. Many families have fond memories of going to the farm and picking out their special tree and then cutting it down.

She loved the animals and birds, and by May 9 each year, she would wait for the hummingbirds to arrive. Marvel would feed about 40 each year and would joyfully make the syrup two times a day. A momma skunk would bring her babies on the deck, and it got so tame that Mom would feed her out of her hand.

Anyone who entered her home got coffee and cookies and probably left with cookies. A wooden plaque above her dining room door read “Life is short – Eat cookies.” Once a delivery guy hit it just right when Mom had just finished a big kettle of chicken soup; he was asked to stay, and he did. He told his pastor of this kindness.

True wisdom was shared by Marvel that had been passed down from her mom, Olanda Kahler. She would say if you cannot say anything nice, it is best not to speak. Or don’t let bitterness out of your mouth, as you may have to eat it. She lived her life with this thought: “IN EVERY SITUATION YOU CAN FIND THE POSITIVE, SO DON’T PONDER ON THE NEGATIVE.”

Marvel was asked in her retirement years to name one thing in her life that was a true highlight and she said, with a sparkle in her blue eyes, that it was the day her dad brought home a horse for her. He knew she loved animals and especially horses. He paid $14 for it, which was a lot of money in those days. She named it Specky and she would go to the fence, call Specky and it would come a-running. She would jump on bare back and off they would go. She shared that was how her dad showed her he loved her, as they did not speak it then.

She also had a period of time that she enjoyed going to the casino with her daughter-in-law, Helen Schaal. A good time was had.

In her retirement, Marvel loved the challenge of putting together puzzles and was really good at it.

One story that Mom liked to tell was about her son-in-law, Donald Vandenput. Every fall, Don would call her when the geese would be migrating south and going over in their long V’s. They would sit out on the deck together and watch and listen. Don passed in 2000.

In September 2016, Marvel asked her children to find her her next home. We realized that she was lonely for social connections with people her own age. We contacted “A Place for Mother,” and they taught us to go with our heart and when you enter the right home, you will know that it is right for your mom. After viewing many assisted living homes, we found the one, which she confirmed and she was moved into Birch Creek in De Pere on Feb. 15, 2017. She transformed with the help of the wonderful staff, good food, socializing and additional love. Mom NEVER complained about anything.

Her husband Bob died March 14, 2014.

Marvel is survived by her son, Richard Schaal (wife, Helen); her daughter Carrie (Scott); and her daughter, Nancy; granddaughter, Stacy; great-grandchildren, Sage, Raven and Jade; great-great-grandchildren, Haylem and Belle. She is further survived by two sisters-in-law, Betty Perschbacher and Hazel Connors; many nieces, nephews and extended family.

She was preceded in death by her brother, Harold; her sister, Laurene Thielke – with whom she enjoyed many fun summer trips together.

Friends and family gathered at Tabor Lutheran Church, 14153 Church Road, Mountain, from 9-11 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 6. A memorial service was held at 11 a.m. Tuesday at the church. To send online condolences, please go to www.BlaneyFuneralHome.com.

We thank the staff at Birch Creek, especially Vianney and Karen, for the care and love they gave Mom.

Dick and Nancy feel very honored to have had this special little lady as their mom. When people say that they had the best mom … WE DID!!!!!!!