She could ease the burden of your worries by taking them on as her own, and she was always willing to be there when you needed her, Edna DeKoninck was a loving wife, mother, grandmother, and friend to many. It is difficult to say goodbye to such a sweet spirit, but it brings comfort to know she lived a full life enjoying her friends and loved ones deeply. We will never forget the impact she had on our lives.
Edna began her life in the year of 1926 - a decade that was still very much in full swing with the notable title, “The Roaring Twenties.” Life was good, and there was plenty of work for the country. Henry Ford announced the 40 hour work week for The Ford Motor Company’s factory workers. And with so many cars in production, it was imperative that the year also completed the famous Route 66 - taking travelers from Chicago, Illinois all the way out west to Los Angeles, California by automobile! The weather was also quite active during this particular year in history. President Calvin Coolidge faced helping his country rebuild after storms of disastrous proportions. As if the Great Miami Hurricane with its Category 4 destruction was not enough, the country experienced 27 tornadoes in one season. Thank goodness for the creation of Winnie the Pooh as a comfort to so many children during these and other storms throughout the year and for many still to come.
In the frosty days of early spring, Jacob and Bernardine (Hoevel) Mattes welcomed Edna Marie into the world. She was born on April 7, 1926, in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Her family was quite large consisting of 5 siblings, and this was the perfect size to keep everyone busy just about every second. The family established their home in Fort Wayne which is where Edna spent her childhood. At a young age, Edna had an appreciation for paper dolls, and she would play with them endlessly.
As she matured, she attended Central Catholic High School where she also graduated with the class of 1944. After earning her high school diploma, she found employment in several retail stores. While she was learning to earn her keep, her heart was also open to love. After she met Arthur DeKoninck, it was not long before they became a committed couple. Eventually, there were plans for a wedding, and on April 19, 1947, the two became Mr. and Mrs. Arthur DeKoninck. The celebration occurred at St. Andrews Catholic Church in Fort Wayne.
The newlyweds settled down into their new lives together. Soon, they entered the adventures of parenthood by welcoming their first child. In time, they completed their young family with five children; Linda, Jackie, Jan, Terry, and Kent kept their parents busy. The family decided to purchase a farm in Thorncreek Township of Whitley County in 1956. This gave the children more space to explore, but it also created a good number of chores to keep everyone from suffering boredom. Edna loved her children dearly, and she was always there for them. She maintained the labeled honor of the official family worrier, as she often took on the worries of everyone else. When her children were younger, one of her notable sayings was, "Wait until your father gets home!" These uttered words often solved the conflicts immediately.
When she was not helping her family thrive, she continued to work. Her first job was obtained with Wolf & Dessauer Department Store in Fort Wayne. Edna then moved to becoming a retail sales associate with the formerly named Flox Department Store. Later, she found a position at The Dollar General Store, and she finished her working years at Walmart before finally retiring. Though she worked diligently, she also found time to enjoy life. She loved to go camping and even enjoyed a few cruises. She was one to frequent a casino every once in awhile, but she also spent her fair share as a member of Saint Paul of the Cross Catholic Church and of the St. Vincent DePaul Society.
Once their children moved out and found lives of their own, Edna and Arthur anxiously waited for grandchildren. They joyfully celebrated the blessings of 16 grandchildren and 29 great-grandchildren! Edna leaves behind an amazing legacy of life with all of these precious ones. She adored each and every one of them and held a special place in her heart to worry about all of them.
Though there were many good times in Edna's life, there were also times of sorrow. Sadly, she was forced to say goodbye to her husband and life partner. Arthur passed away leaving Edna to find the goodness in life without her husband. With the support of loved ones and the memories in her heart, she found the strength to endure the loss.
Many hours spent on the phone with Mona Schmitt, her best friend, certainly helped ease the sadness. The two enjoyed sharing the latest gossip and the comfort of companionship these conversations carried. When they had talked out the latest news, Edna found many other activities which certainly kept her happily occupied. She was talented in the arts of both knitting and sewing. In addition, she was fond of collecting dolls as well as adding to her impressively large collection of plates. If all else failed to keep her interest, she was content to curl up with a good book or to tune her radio to the sounds of old time classic country music.
Sadly, Edna DeKoninck passed away at 5:40 pm on Thursday, August 3, 2017, at Miller's Merry Manor, Columbia City. After 91 years spent in this lifetime, she leaves behind many warm memories in the hearts of her loved ones. We can look to one another to find comfort in our sadness, and we will miss Edna's presence in our lives.
Survivors include her daughters, Linda (Richard) Clauss, of Garrett, Jackie Martin, of Columbia City; sons, Jan DeKoninck, of Columbia City, Terry DeKoninck, of Columbia City and Kent (Amanda) DeKoninck, of Greenwood; sister, Marilyn Sorg, of Fort Wayne; 16 grandchildren; and 29 great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her parents; husband Arthur; brothers, Ray, Bill, and Herbert Mattes; sister, Luella Naftzger; son-in-law, Fritz Martin; and great-grandson, Cameron Martin.
Friends may call from 2:00-5:00 pm on Sunday, August 6, 2017, at DeMoney-Grimes, a Life Story Funeral Home, 600 Countryside Drive, Columbia City, with a Rosary starting at 1:30 pm. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:00 am on Monday, August 7, 2017, with calling one hour prior at St. Paul of the Cross Catholic Church, 315 South Line St, Columbia City. Father Gary Sigler will be officiating. Burial will follow in St. Paul of the Cross Catholic Cemetery.
Memorial contributions in memory of Edna may be made to St. Paul of the Cross Catholic Church.