January 27, 1933 - August 7, 2021
Delores S. Eichler was called home to Jesus on August 7, 2021, at the age of 88 years. She was preceded in death by her beloved husband, Jim Eichler, and her parents and siblings. Delores is survived by her two daughters and their husbands: Anne & Sean McCarthy of Larchmont, NY and Mary Eichler & Dan Brackett of Oak Park, IL; her three grandchildren: Catherine McCarthy, Max Brackett and Miles Brackett; nieces and nephews and their children; countless dear friends. Delores lived most recently in Oak Park, IL, and prior to that lived for 50 years in Elkhorn / Omaha, NE. Delores lived a long and meaningful life, one that is valued by so many friends and family members. She expressed many times that her life had three completely distinct parts, and she marveled at just how many different things she had done. Through it all she constantly adapted to new situations and challenges, continually searching for the good no matter how difficult. And she always, always continued to form new friendships. Delores was born in 1933, to a family of 100% Polish heritage. Her father, Alexander Barth (originally Bautrukiewicz), made the journey from Poland to the U.S. alone at age 18, and found his way to Milwaukee’s robust Polish community. It was there he met and married Catherine Parys, and they both worked incredibly hard while raising their four children: Emily, Roman, Alice and Delores. Delores was the baby of the family, and she often spoke of how she relished the extra attention and special treatment she received especially from her mother and her big brother. Unlike most of her female peers of the time, upon graduating from Milwaukee’s Riverside High School, Delores pursued secretarial training as opposed to immediate marriage and motherhood. She loved working and she thrived in her career. She ultimately spent 18 years as an executive secretary at Robert W. Baird Brokerage Co. in Milwaukee. By the time Delores was into her 30’s, she was fulfilled by her work and content with the idea that perhaps marriage was not in the cards. But then her boss at the time met with a new client who needed financial advice, and that person lingered in the office and around her desk until he summoned the courage to ask her for a date. The client was Jim Eichler. She accepted the date, caught slightly off guard by his very large blue eyes and his naïve and somewhat gawky charm. The blockbuster movie “The Sound of Music” had recently premiered in theaters, and seeing this film was their first date. Delores felt that it went well, and more dates followed. After several years of courtship, Jim decided to purchase a business located in Nebraska, just west of Omaha. Delores soon realized that she had to suggest to Jim that this development was going to require some sort of decision about their relationship. The naïve charm was in fact authentic, and he truly didn’t realize that it was time to make it official! It wasn’t the most romantic of proposals, but there was in fact an engagement ring and a wedding date was set. Back then without cell phones and constant communication, weeks and weeks went by without hearing from Jim after he left for Nebraska. She was slightly worried whether he would in fact return to Milwaukee on the right date! He did return on time. Delores began a totally new life upon her marriage to Jim and the move to Nebraska. Overnight she switched from a city corporate world while living with her parents to a small town with ridiculously friendly people and a husband who worked at a John Deere in a cornfield. And she had no idea how to cook or do anything to care for a home. And she immediately became pregnant with her first child. But she absolutely loved it, and always said that she embraced the complete change in her life from day one. Daughters Anne and Mary came along, three years apart. Delores poured all her love and energy into anything her family could ever need. Over time she had become an accomplished cook and baker, her home was always calm and cared for, and she was always busy. Community and church work started to enter her life as her children grew up, and she was one of those “regulars” who would get involved when help was needed. She supported her children in everything, but also let them pave their own ways. Over the years, there were significant health issues for Jim. Then the 1980’s farm economy crisis claimed the John Deere business - the family’s livelihood and financial security. Delores was always the rock – quiet, steady, strong, looking toward the positive. She was right by her husband’s side when he decided on a new business plan after Eichler Equipment Co. shut down. The property was transformed into Venice Antiques, a multi-vendor antiques and collectibles mall. Jim conceived the idea and then put in months of physical work to build it out himself with scrap materials lying around. Delores did all the administrative set-up for a new business – legal, financial, tax forms, she figured it all out. She was thrilled to see her husband come back to life and be excited about the future again. She worked alongside him once the place was open and customers started to buy things. She kept the books, handled vendor leases, collected rent, hired employees, paid the taxes – everything. She made it seem like she always knew how to do all those things. Spring 1991 delivered a terrible blow, when Jim became terminally ill and passed away four months later. She faced it as she had every other crisis, with quiet strength while looking out for everyone else. It was a terrible time. She approached the new reality with rational acceptance but was always blunt that it was just plain unfair. Delores managed Venice Antiques on her own for several years before selling the business. She ushered her two children through college and out of the house, and on to pursuing their own independent challenges far from home. That was not easy, but she was ever selfless in supporting the dreams of her children. She then began devoting her time toward her true passions, her church and community. Delores threw herself into supporting St. Vincent De Paul in Omaha, serving as a frequent reader at daily Mass for many years, plus constant work with the welcome and bereavement committees. When she decided to sell her Elkhorn house and move to Omaha, her main concern was how close she would be to her church. (5 minutes away, as it turns out.) The second focus of her new life’s work was Spirit Catholic Radio, which first launched in Omaha in 1999. Delores was one of the network’s earliest volunteers, receiving the annual top volunteer award many times. She was known as “Dee-lightful” to all the staff and other volunteers for her positivity and ability to light any room she was in. Her contributions eventually included on-air readings of prayers that might be heard at any time throughout the programming day. After 12 years of intense volunteer work when it was time to pull back on her commitments, she received a banquet ceremony solely in her honor. The next joy in life for Delores was becoming a grandma. She received her first long-awaited grandchild, Catherine, in 2005. Two more followed in the next six years, Max and Miles. The happiness shared between Delores and her grandchildren was heaven on earth for her. Despite the long distances between them, frequent extended visits were cherished times during the grandkids’ younger years. In her quiet, gentle way, she surrounded the kids with her love, and they understood that she was theirs. Existing alongside each life chapter, there has always been the immovable presence of her closest friends. The devotion ran equally from her to them and back again. Regular prayer meetings for 40+ years, even up until a week ago over Zoom. They are part of what helped Delores give her family that quiet, steady strength that everyone counted on. Now they are reminding those who are sad that her passing is in fact good news, that she has been looking toward heaven for a long time. She is reunited with her family, her beloved Jim, and the many friends who were already there. She has no pain or sadness - she is whole again. She will always be there for her loved ones with that steady, gentle strength. Those who grieve her loss will now need to draw on her endless examples of grace and choosing to find joy in life.
Delores S. Eichler was called home to Jesus on August 7, 2021, at the age of 88 years. She was preceded in death by her beloved husband, Jim Eichler, and her parents and siblings. Delores is survived by her two daughters and their husbands:... View Obituary & Service Information
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