Carole Heisel Bergstraesser, 83, of Evanston, formerly Oak Park, died on Feb. 1, 2021. Born on Oct. 6, 1937, in New York City, she was the daughter of the late Helga and J. Emil Heisel. Her passion was for art and family. She graduated from Wellesley College with a degree in art history, and later with a master’s degree from the University of Illinois. She taught elementary school art for more than two decades, cultivating a hands-on approach and cherishing her students and the notes many sent her long after they left school.   

She met the love of her life, Rev. Edward William Bergstraesser, in 1960. Their life, lived in Rhode Island, Cleveland, Chicago, Elmhurst and Oak Park, was filled with travel, museums, and cathedrals. It was also devoted to gracious parenting and grandparenting.

Carole was not only an aesthete, but also an ethicist. She and Ed marched with Dr. Martin Luther King in the ’60s. She fought for the Equal Rights Amendment in the ’70s. She supported progressive political candidates with time and energy — and could often be seen driving around town with a hand-designed “Peace Is Patriotic” sign in the back window.

Left with years of fond memories are her sons, Ed and Paul Bergstraesser, her daughter-in-law Michelle, and her grandchildren Amy, Jenna and William. A lot of those memories involve answering the question: What would Carole do?

A memorial service will be held later in the year. News to follow. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts to First United Church of Oak Park are appreciated. 

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