Willalena Eckhoff, daughter of Lammert and Anna (Saathoff) Frerichs, was born December 19, 1930 on a farm northwest of Macon, Nebraska. She was baptized and confirmed at Emmanuel Lutheran Church south of Hildreth, Nebraska. On October 19, 1947 Willalena was united in marriage to J. Norman Eckhoff at Emmanuel Lutheran Church and to this union two daughters, Sharon and Gwenda, were born.
Norman and Willalena began farming southeast of Macon. She transferred her membership to Zion Lutheran Church of Macon and was a faithful member serving as Sunday school teacher and as Superintendent in her younger years, and a member of the Zion Women’s group.
Besides working with Norman on their farm, she loved working in her yard, her garden and most of all her flower beds. She was part of a Birthday club with her Macon friends. Willalena enjoyed being in her kitchen and cooking all the good recipes for her family. She always made a point to bake a special birthday cake for each of her grandchildren. Usually each cake presented the grandchild with something very special to them.
In 1986 Willalena and Norman retired from the farm and moved into the community of Franklin, Nebraska. She had many friends and enjoyed being a part of the community activities. She hosted a ladies Bible study in her home. She loved to have the grandchildren and great grandchildren come and visit. They were wonderfully surprised that Grandma was an Alan Jackson fan. When Willalena had the opportunity to be with her siblings, they had such a wonderful time.
In 2010 the time came when Willalena and Norman felt they needed to be closer to their daughters so they moved to Alma, Nebraska. They had many good years together there. In March 2018 Norman passed from this life. She was also preceded in death by her parents; sisters, Grace Saathoff, Florence Carmen, Annette Vap; brother John Frerichs
Willalena passed from this life peacefully Saturday, November 28, 2020 at the Good Samaritan Home in Alma, Nebraska at the age of 89 years. She will be forever remembered by her daughters Sharon K. Schluntz and husband Dennis, Republican City, NE and Gwenda Westerbeck and husband Darrel, Alma, NE; four grandchildren Debbie Waltemath, Kearney, NE, Brenda Hudson, Elizabeth, CO, Dustin Westerbeck, Kearney, NE, Amber Strohmyer, Gretna, NE; seven great grandchildren, Derek Waltemath, Eliza Hudson, Fletcher, Stanley, Hattie Westerbeck, Emmet and Olivia Strohmyer; sister Martha Janssen and brother Raymond Frerichs both of Hastings, NE; many nieces, nephews, cousins, other relatives and friends.
Viewing will be Thursday, December 3rd from 3:00pm to 6:00pm at Hutchins Funeral Home, Franklin, Nebraska. A family graveside service will be held Friday at Greenwood Cemetery, Franklin with Pastor Marcia Dorn officiating. Memorials may be made to the Willalena Eckhoff Memorial to be designated at a later time. Hutchins Funeral Home, Franklin, Nebraska assisted the Eckhoff family with these arrangements.
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