Martha Catherine Kirchmann, 95, of the Sycamore and DeKalb areas, peacefully went home to her Lord on Monday, March 21, 2011.
Martha was born on Feb. 22, 1916, the daughter of Henry and Susanna (Hamsmith) Butt. Growing up in the Virgil/Maple Park area, Martha was a bright, self-assured and independent child. She attended grade school in both South Burlington and S.S. Peter & Paul Catholic School in Virgil. Working her way through high school, she graduated from Maple Park High School with the class of 1937.
She was united in marriage on Oct. 24, 1937, to John H. Kirchmann at the Holy Angels Church in Aurora. After they were married, they resided in Aurora before moving to Roselle, Ill. In 1946, they moved to South Burlington, where they spent a good part of 20 years enjoying their family. Raising 12 children was no small task with 18 loads of laundry every Monday and everyday household chores without the luxury of modern-day amenities.
Martha enjoyed organic gardening, planting fruit trees and her beautiful flower beds. Many happy hours were spent singing in her kitchen while canning her bounty from her 1 acre garden. Canning 100 quarts of pickles and 300 quarts of beans, her pantry was always full. Cooking a meal for Martha meant two quarts of everything. Martha was famous for her pies, and a pie was never complete without adding a little rhubarb or currant.
In 1963, John and Martha moved to a small farm in Clare, Ill. The farm was up a half mile lane, where she enjoyed the peace and solitude in the country. With the family half grown, life was easier now, and there was time for Martha to enjoy her gardening and raising chickens and geese. Martha was widowed in 1968, with six children remaining at home.
In 1979, she moved to Maple Park, where she continued to garden and plant an orchard. This is where Martha discovered a new love, china painting. She excelled at china painting, winning ribbons at the Sandwich Fair. Martha was a member of the Fox Valley China Art Guild and the World Organization of China Painting Teachers, passing the gift of art onto her children and grandchildren. All Martha’s descendants were blessed with beautiful heirloom pieces that will be passed on for generations to come. She was also a member of the Kane County Home Extension.
In later years, Martha moved to Sycamore to be closer to her children. Playing cards and bingo was a favorite pastime, as well as vacationing with children and grandchildren. At the age of 94, Martha loved the time spent with family and was game for anything, including 4-wheeling.
She was a member of SS Peter & Paul of Virgil, and also a member of St. Mary’s of Sycamore and active in her faith. The love of her life was her family and her heartfelt devotion to her grandchildren and her great-great grandchildren.
She is survived by 10 children, Kathleen Geen (Arthur) Port Richey, Fla., Germaine VanDerheyden (Tony) St. Charles, John Henry Kirchman Jr. (Carol) of Hinckley, Ernest Kirchman (Martha) of Minnesota, Sharon Voyles (Lester) of Rochelle, Ill., Paulette Tewksbury (Tim) of Sycamore, Diane Long (Vernon) of Maple Park, Josephine Susina (William) of Clare, Andy Kirchmann (Deborah) of Sycamore, and Susanna Smith (Jim) of Sycamore. Martha’s legacy includes 36 grandchildren, 75 great-grandchildren and 11 great-great-grandchildren, with five more expecting, twins included. Martha is also survived by four sisters, Mary Gudek (Edward) of Woodsville, N.H., Isabelle Butt of Elgin, Ill., Jane Usczienski of Elgin, and Lucy Mogler of Sycamore.
She is preceded in death by her husband, John Henry Kirchmann, Sr.; one son, Edward Lee; two daughters, Janet Walk and Jean Hardt; and one son-in-law, Harold Hardt; her parents; six brothers, Charles, Henry, Robert, John, James and Arthur; and one sister, Anne Faber.
Visitation will be on Friday, March 25, from 2 to 8 p.m., with a wake service to begin at 4 p.m. at Conley Funeral Home, 116 W. Pierce St. Elburn. The funeral will be celebrated at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, March 26, with a high Mass at S.S. Peter & Paul, Virgil. Fr. Perfecto Vasquez, pastor of the church, will officiate and interment will follow at S. S. Peter & Paul Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, a memorial has been established in her name to be given to masses. Checks may be made to the “Martha Kirchmann Memorial” and mailed in care of P.O. Box 66, Elburn, IL 60119. Tributes and memorials may also be forwarded to the family through the same address or on the web at www.conleycare.com.