Elisabeth Helga Humes (née Wenzel), 88, of Oak Park, died at home on Nov. 19, 2022. Born on Nov. 18, 1934 in Aschaffenburg, Germany, the second of three daughters, she came of age in the difficult post-war years of reconstruction. Educated at a local convent school run by an order of British nuns, she worked for a time for Kleinstoff GmbH before spending a year in Epsom, England, as an au pair. She became a secretary in the library on a U.S. Army depot in Aschaffenburg where her future husband, Thomas Humes, was stationed. Their courtship began following a Mass at the Hertz Jesu Church in Aschaffenburg, where they were later married on Jan. 14, 1961. They returned to Thomas’ hometown of Oak Park, Illinois and three daughters soon followed: Caroline, Joanne, and Michelle.
Active, curious, and engaged in her community throughout her life, she had a wide circle of friends and maintained close ties to her family in Germany. Once her three children were in school, she developed a strong interest in business, the stock market and became an informed, thoughtful investor. She decided to further her own education and graduated Magna Cum Laude from Rosary College in River Forest with a major in accounting and then worked for several years as an accountant. Her lively interest in the arts led to becoming a “picture lady” at St. Edmund School, and she was a frequent visitor to the Art Institute of Chicago, the Chicago Symphony, Lyric Opera, Goodman Theater, Steppenwolf, and Court Theater. She read avidly and especially enjoyed English mysteries. She was also a Francophile and took French language classes in her spare time, traveled to France with Elder Hostel, and enjoyed French food. She was a very good cook.
She enjoyed holiday gatherings and an annual family reunion at their home in South Haven, Michigan. Though illness eventually presented her with many challenges, she remained a helpful and supportive presence in the lives of those she loved, especially her three daughters and the younger generation of the family.
Helga was the wife of Thomas; the mother of Caroline Humes (Truman Anderson), Joanne Littrell (James) and Michelle Humes (Victor Vanek); the grandmother of Christine Littrell (Kendall McDowell), Erik Anderson, Kevin Littrell and Eleanor Anderson (Ben Seltzer); the great-grandmother of Kendall McDowell; the sister of the late Maja Kissner and the late Lotti Schnarr; and the daughter of the late Josef Wenzel and the late Karolina Wenzel.
Visitation will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 2 at Peterson-Bassi Chapels, 6938 W. North Ave., Chicago. The funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 3 at St. Edmund Church, 188 S. Oak Park Ave., Oak Park.
In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to the Mercy Home for Boys & Girls at www.mercyhome.org.