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  • Luise Earnhart
    Luise Earnhart (nee Lautewasser), 97, passed away peacefully of complications of Alzheimer’s on Sunday, April 10, 2016 at Oak Hill nursing home in Waterloo, Illinois.   Luise was born on July 27, 1918 in Stuttgart, Germany. Her father, a German soldier, had been captured by the Americans near the end of World War I and had died in an American POW camp prior to her birth. Raised by loving grandparents, at the age of 8, she entered the German foster care system after their deaths. In foster care, she lived a life of servitude and was forced to take full-time employment as a live-in maid at the age of 13. At 17, when the Nazis came into power, Luise lived in fear because she could not prove her ancestry. Despite being ordered to have her nose and ear lobes measured to determine if she was of Jewish descent, Luise heeded the advice of an aunt and never responded to the order.   She survived the war despite the continuous allied bombing of Stuttgart and during the aftermath and U.S. occupation, she met her future husband Russell as he was handing out chocolate to children.   Luise attended Dongola First Baptist Church.   Shortly after marrying Russell Earnhart on December 30, 1948 in Dongola, Russell and Luise began their family with the birth of their daughter Dolores in 1949, followed by Darlene in 1951 and Michael in 1956.   A devoted mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, Luise enjoyed crafts, gardening, birding and created hundreds of Christmas ornaments that her family will pass on for generations. Admired for the challenges she had overcome and the love she freely expressed, she served as her family’s connection to history and an inspiration to help all of her family rise above their own challenges.   Luise attended Dongola First Baptist Church.   Luise is survived by her daughters, Dolores (Lester) Schweiss, Jr. of Smithton, Illinois, Darlene (Michael) Collins of Chester, Virginia; son, Michael (Trina) Earnhart of Cypress; six grandchildren, Lester H. “Chip” (Sahra) Schweiss III, Russell T. (Meghan) Schweiss, Brett (Sharon) Collins, Stacy Collins, Brian Earnhart, Eric (Abby) Earnhart; three great-grandchildren, Gwendolyn, Aidan and Lillian Schweiss.   She is preceded in death by her parents; husband, Russell Earnhart on June 1, 1974.   Visitation was 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Wednesday, April 13, 2016 at Crain Funeral Home in Dongola.   Funeral Services will be 10:00 a.m. Thursday, April 14, 2016 at the funeral home with Dr. John Earnhart officiating. Interment will follow in American Legion Cemetery.   Memorial contributions may be made to Alzheimer’s Association and will be accepted at the funeral home.   To leave online condolences visit
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