JEANNETTE M. ‘SISSY’ MICHAEL, nee Leonhardt, age 97, of Villa Park, formerly of Lombard

Written by Brust Funeral Home on May 30th, 2014

JeannetteMichaelJeannette M. ‘Sissy’ Michael nee Leonhardt, age 97, of Villa Park formerly of Lombard for 85 years died May 29 at Elmhurst Memorial Hospital after a very brief illness.

Visitation will held Sunday, June 1, from 3 to 7 Brust Funeral Home.

Funeral services will be held Monday, lying-in-state from 10AM until time of service 11AM at Trinity Lutheran Church, 300 S. Ardmore, Villa Park, IL 60181.

Interment will be at Chapel Hill Gardens West, Oakbrook Terrace, IL.

In lieu of flowers donations to Trinity Lutheran Church would be appreciated.

Mrs. Michael  is survived by her nieces and nephews, Marsha (Robert) Kern of TX., Jeffery D. Kaiser of Lombard and California,  Denise (Jim) Smelter of Villa Park, Jane Zuelke of Colorado, James M. Kaiser of Washington, D.C.,  Craig R. (Kathy) Kaiser of Westchester and  Jean (Michael) Remsen of Bartlett; great-aunt of 10 and great-great-aunt of 5.

Mrs. Michael is preceded in death by her husband, Robert C. a sister, Gerry M. Kaiser, a brother, Harry C. Leonhardt; her niece, Elizabeth Ann ‘Betsy’ Kaiser; and her great-great nephew, Zachary Longoria.

Mrs. Michael lived for the past 7 years in Villa Park with her niece. She had previously lived in Lombard for 85 years beginning in 1924. She attended Westmore and Ardmore Schools and graduated from York High School in 1934.   

After beginning her business career at R.R. Donnelly Company during World War II, she worked at International Harvester Company for nearly 30 years where she rose to the title of Executive Assistant, managing the international travel department.  She achieved a level of rank and responsibility few women of her generation were able to accomplish.  Mrs. Michael retired in 1978.

She was a proud and devoted lifelong member of Trinity Lutheran Church in Villa Park where she held the position of oldest member until her passing. She was an active member of the Lutheran Women’s Mission League in recent years, and as a young woman taught Sunday School and served as Sunday School Superintendent for many years at Trinity.

Jeannette was also a member of the Gray Ladies during World War II, working as a Hospital Aide with the American Red Cross.  In that role, she wrote hundreds of letters for injured servicemen and provided countless hours of friendly conversation, companionship and many other non-medical services. 

Her hobbies included sewing, a talent that brought her many requests for dress making including bridal gowns.  Jeannette also loved to travel, having had the opportunity to see much of the United States and Canada as well as Europe and Asia.  For much of her travel, she was accompanied by her sister with whom she lived for many years.  Due to her work at International Harvest, Air France selected her to be their guest on their inaugural non-stop flight from Chicago’s Midway Airport to Paris in 1956.




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