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Obituaries » Theresia (Pfann) Morgenlaender

Theresia (Pfann) Morgenlaender

November 16, 1934 - October 3, 2017


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Theresia passed away peacefully at home October 3, 2017 following a 6-year battle with cancer.

Born in Kaltenstein Hungary, a German settlement near the Austrian border, Theresia was raised on a family farm with her 2 sisters until 1945 when the Russian Army removed them from their homes and placed them into a refugee camp for 7 months before being returned to Germany in 1946. In 1944 her father was drafted into the German Army thus making her mother the sole provider-caretaker until the Red Cross reunited them for the first time in 1947. She carried the memories of air raids and malnutrition as the result of the war throughout her life. She prayed for a world of peace and harmony.

At 17 years old Theresia wanted to see the rest of the world. When a friend told her of an opportunity to be a companion for an elderly couple in Stockholm Sweden she left Germany. She learned to speak Swedish, made friends and traveled throughout Sweden experiencing the beauty and kindness of Stockholm. Following the long cold winters of Sweden at 23 years old she responded to an add in the paper for an Au Pair job in sunny California for a couple who worked in the Swedish consulate in San Francisco. She traveled by ship to New York then onto San Francisco.

While attending English class in San Francisco she met her future husband Robert Morgenlaender. They married in June of 1959 in Hawaii then celebrated a November wedding ceremony in San Francisco. In 1965 They earned their United States citizenship for which they felt blessed and grateful to be citizens of this great country they now call home. By 1964 they had 3 children and in 1965 they thought it best to move to Corte Madera where they had their fourth child and remained until their final days.

The Corte Madera neighborhood was full of friendly fun families who accepted the “Germans” with open arms and kind hearts. The family joined Marin Lutheran church and their community family grew with more lifelong friendships. They became active members of the German American society where they enjoyed traditional dances and food in good company while dressed in dirndl and lederhosen. They joined the Mount Tam Racquet Club where she swam the breaststroke for hours at a time. The family summer months were spent on Clear Lake (Soda Bay) where she enjoyed swimming and waterskiing with family and friends.

Theresia was an accomplished seamstress designing and sewing many wedding gowns. She also enjoyed Sunday afternoons baking homemade bread and deserts for the week or painting pictures of the Golden Gate Bridge and California Poppies on flat rocks as gifts for friends. Many neighbors, teachers and church members enjoyed her fresh banana nut bread and chocolate chip cookies along with her works of art.

As a dedicated member of Marin Lutheran Church she sang in the choir, met with church elders and provided community outreach such as in 1975 tending to Vietnamese children and infant refugees who were transported to the Presidio in San Francisco during Operation Babylift. Faith and fellowship were the core of her lifelong commitment to being there for others in the time of need. On Echo Ave in Corte Madera she was known for her twice a day walks interacting with neighborhood families, taking care of the elders and unofficial dog walker. Her greatest accomplishment in life was raising her children to be open minded, kind, caring productive members of society who understand helping those in need. Her children are forever grateful for the life she has given them.

Theresia is survived by her children Monica (Steve)Finnegan, Mike (Tanya), Rolf (Maggi), Mark (Yvette). Her grandchildren Matthew Cupp, Kimberly Anderson, Andrew, Sabina, Melissa, Tyler and Kenzie Morgenlaender. Her sisters in Dallau Germany Else Winzor and Anna Neureuter. Her niece Edith Winzor, grand niece Diana and great grand niece Sinja.
In lieu of flowers please make a donation to your favorite charity in Theresia’s honor.
God Bless