Martha Leininger, 99

Secretary, master seamstress, member of Grace Lutheran Church

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Martha Louise Leininger (nee Voigt), 99, a resident of Belmont Village Assisted Living Center in Oak Park, died on Dec. 27, 2012. Born on April 10, 1913 in Melrose Park to Bertha (nee Backhaus) and Herman Voigt, she was raised with five siblings, Walter, Paula, Emma, Frieda and Alma, and baptized into the faith at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Melrose Park, where her father was principal of the church school.

Her elementary education at St. Paul Lutheran School was conducted in both English and German, and she evidenced an early love for learning. She graduated from Proviso High School in 1931, having participated in many school organizations, including orchestra, chorus, dramatic club, and German club. Elected class treasurer and later president, she was a member of the Student Council and received the Silver Scholarship Medal and National Honor Society award. Her class yearbook contained the following description of Martha: "As pure in thought as angels are, and as good as she is fair."

She married George O. Leininger in 1936. They met while performing in a young adult Walther League play at Grace Lutheran Church in River Forest. Three children followed: Caryl, Georgene and Charles. The family found its way to Glendale, Calif., where Martha worked for the Lockheed Aircraft Corporation as a secretary.

After six years they returned to Melrose Park and she began what was to become a long career with the Illinois Bell Telephone Company as an executive secretary. During these years, she joined Grace Lutheran Church in River Forest and continued with her love of music by singing in the choir.

She retired in 1977 and embarked on an odyssey of travel by living in Kerrville, Texas for several years, then Champaign for several more years and finally LaGrange. She became a member of Grace Lutheran Church in LaGrange, and for many years served as a volunteer in the church office. Another move brought her back to the Oak Park-River Forest area and renewed membership at Grace Lutheran in River Forest.

A master seamstress, she enjoyed quilting, knitting and sewing a variety of projects, from drapes to slippers and clothes to whatever presented a challenge. She was an expert wordsmith with crossword puzzles and an able bridge partner with her husband. Her strong faith and sense of service shone through in all of her interactions with others. She put the best construction on everything throughout her entire life, and without fear met the adventure of each new day. A loving grandparent, she was known to her six grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren as "Grandma Marty."

Martha Leininger was wife of the late George O. Leininger; the mother of Caryl (Harold) Rohlfing, Charles (Ivory) Leininger and the late Georgene (the late Carson) Gallagher; the grandmother of Gregory (Cindy) Rohlfing, Joan Rohlfing (Pallav Das), Anne (Peter) Peregrine, William (Sheila Dougherty) Rohlfing, Julia (Douglas) Clemons, and Margaret (David Krauter) Leininger; and the great-grandmother of 12. She was preceded in death by her five siblings.

A memorial service is scheduled for 1 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 26, at Grace Lutheran Church, 7300 Division St., River Forest. Private interment will take place at Concordia Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to Grace Lutheran Church and School or the charity or your choice.


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