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Margarete Maria "Gretel" Schönfelder Dzierla
Birth: Mar. 15, 1927, Germany
Death: Nov. 11, 2012
Stanislaus County
California, USA

The hummingbirds have lost a treasured friend as our beloved Gretel has gone to join the love of her life. Margarete (Gretel) Schönfelder was born on March 15, 1927, in the little village of Prisselbach just outside Breslau, present day Wroclaw, Poland. Born into the large blended family of Josef and Elizabeth Schönfelder. Gretel faced hardship from an early age. Following the of her mother beloved mother in 1933, her father married a woman who abused the Schönfelder children as well as her own. Josef Schönfelder died in 1940. As Gretel mourned for father at the top of the stairs, Marie pushed the thirteen year old down a flight of stairs. Gretel was placed in the hospital with broken ribs and a punctured lung, and was then sent to a facility for recuperation in the mountains of Northern Silesia. The government assigned Gretel a guardian, but since there was no proof that Marie had attacked her,no formal charges were made. Gretel told the nurse at the facility that she preferred to be homeless and to live on the street. For Gretel, returning home was not an option. From that point on until mid 1945, Gretel studied nursing at a facility in Upper Silesia. At the war's conclusion, Gretel fled Silesia as the Russian Army expelled the German population from the area. Gretel worked in an orphanage in the baby department caring for seven baby girls. When the Russian Army advanced, the orphanage was evacuated. Gretel's party met with Gretel's sister Trudel on the way toward Bavaria. However, in the middle of the night the Russian's happened upon the group. They proceeded to steal their supplies, rape the women, and murder the children. Gretel escaped on foot with her older sister Trudel and journeyed across Germany faced numerous hardships. Their exodus concluded at a displaced persons' camp in Bamberg, Germany. In late 1945, she was hospitalized. As she sat at the foot of her bed, she began to grieve, realizing what she went through in her short eighteen years. Her roommate Elly (Ellen) Kluge was in the next bed adorned in a fur cape and a welcoming smile. She comforted Gretel and told her everything would end up just fine. Elly and Elly's sister Gerda visited them in the hospital. They would hide Gerda in the cabinet so she sleep with her sister. They were thrown out of the hospital when it was discovered the trio left nightly to dance with local farmers. Elly and Gerda became Gretel's lifelong friends. Years later Gretel married an American serviceman, George Gates and immigrated to the US on October 13, 1952. George and Gretel moved to California so Gretel could be closer to her friend Ellen. George and Gretel adopted a daughter named Linda. Their marriage ended in 1960. She was briefly married to a an abusive man named Ray. In 1966, she married Richard Quisenberry, who adopted Linda. They remained married until 1980. Together they operated Ricardo's Pizza Parlor in San Jose, California. There she met her beloved "Pizza Kids" with whom she shared many happy times. Two of them David and Joyce Busse became her primary caregivers. On and off and then from the early 1980s on, Modesto was her home. She joined the local Die Hermann Söhne German Club. She had a final and brief marriage to a man named Hubert Dzierla. She formed everlasting friendships when Ellen and Gerdi introduced her to Margaret Shields (my grandmother), and Mickey Robinson, and other German or Austrian-Americans. These friends shared many happy times together. From dancing to taking trips, and many evenings around the bar drinking Manhattans. She was also a devoted friend to Margarete "Margie" Marron (1921-1987) who was the first friend she met in the United States. Gretel never had friends, she always had family. She was a loving woman, but very stubborn and self-assured. She had a wonderful heart. However, she had her own way of accomplishing tasks, and was not to be second-guessed. If you were sick, she brought you soup, if you threw a party she would help and let you know what you were doing wrong. If she thought something was dirty, she would take out a trusty can of Lysol and disinfect it. Most importantly, she listened when you spoke, and when you were done you felt better. She was grandmother to nine grandchildren, and though she lost touch with her family in later years, it was evident she adored them. To everyone who loved we will remember her warm smile,the way she chewed like a bunny rabbit, how she never walked anywhere, she was always marching on Poland, and above the emptiness we feel without her in our lives. She left behind her daughter Linda (John) Lowe of Troutdale, OR and her older sister Gertraud "Trudel" Schuppke of Bamberg, Germany as well as nine grandchildren: John, Elizabeth, Ruth, Sarah, Mary, Stephen, Andrew, Joseph, & Luke, one great-grandchild Micah, and several nieces and nephews. She also leaves behind her beloved "Pizza Kids," including her primary caregivers David, Joyce, and Zack Busse. Left to mourn her memory in Modesto are her best friends of over 60 years; Ellen Miner, Gerda Beckstein, Margaret Shields, and Margunde Robinson and their families. She was preceded in death by her parents and her siblings: Josef, Hedel, Mietze, Franz, Anna, Elizabeth, Ursula, and Hildegard. She has been re-united with her infant son Herbert. Our beloved hummingbird is now free. Ruhe in frieden liebe Gretel. 
Lakewood Memorial Park
Stanislaus County
California, USA
Created by: The Perplexed Historian
Record added: Nov 17, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 100852030
Margarete Maria Gretel <i>Schönfelder</i> Dzierla
Added by: The Perplexed Historian
Margarete Maria Gretel <i>Schönfelder</i> Dzierla
Added by: The Perplexed Historian
Margarete Maria Gretel <i>Schönfelder</i> Dzierla
Added by: The Perplexed Historian
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 Added: May. 21, 2015

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