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Marie Magdelena Eckstein of Winchester passed away on Tuesday December 14, 2021, at the age of 96, surrounded by family and friends. She was born on August 10, 1925, to Florence (Ambroson) Waag and Hans Martin Waag in the Utica township of Crawford County, WI. In 1948, Marie married her life partner, Dr Neil T Eckstein to whom she was married for 62 years until his passing in 2011. She is survived by their four children, four grandchildren, and one great-grandson. Marie's kindness, faith, energy, and sense of humor were a constant in the lives of those close to her.
During the Great Depression, Marie and her family moved from Utica to Iola and then to Stevens Point. As a teenager, a highlight of her summer each year was attending Bible camp. There she met a young boy named Neil from Winchester who she would meet again later and eventually marry. After finishing high school, she attended college in Stevens Point and later graduated from the Registered Nursing program at Fairview Deaconess Hospital School of Nursing in Minneapolis in 1947. That year she also met Neil again after his service in the US Navy, and they were married a year later.
For a time, Marie put her own career on hold to support Neil as a Lutheran pastor in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, and to raise their four children. After Neil completed his PhD at University of Pennsylvania, Marie returned to nursing in Waverly, Iowa and later for most of her career at Theda Clark Hospital in Neenah. After living in Neenah for a number of years, Marie and Neil built a house in town of Winchester in 1973 overlooking the farm on which Neil was born and raised. They lived there together for the rest of their lives and were active as members of Grace Lutheran Church and in the local community. After retiring from Theda Clark, Marie joined the staff of the Visiting Nurses Association, the same organization that would be her home for the last two and a half years of her life.
Marie loved to travel, especially to visit beloved relatives in her ancestral homeland of Norway. She was tireless in making educational opportunities possible for her family and was a passionate proponent of the arts, particularly music, often hosting concerts in her home. Her Lutheran faith was absolutely essential to her life and part of every minute of every day. From 1991-96 Marie and Neil served as Senior Mentors at California Lutheran University. Marie volunteered as campus nurse and got to know many students from the US and around the world who kept in touch with her through the years.
Marie is survived by daughter Jane; and sons, Jim (Kathy), Brian (Sharon), and John (Yuki); as well as grandchildren, Laura (Evgueni), Brian (Annie), Nina and Jamie; and great-grandson Kaloyan.
Interment occurred on December 18th at Grace Lutheran Cemetery, Winchester and a Memorial is planned for the summer of 2022. Details of the celebration of life will be relayed through Grace Lutheran Church. Marie's family wishes to thank Ann Pelot, Dawn Frank, and the staff of the Valley VNA for their wonderful care over the past years.
In lieu of flowers, you may send memorial donations to the Rev. Dr. Neil T. Eckstein Scholarship for Grace Lutheran Church at the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley.
If you wish please submit online condolences to muellerfh.net.