Traudi Ruhtraut Nora Schmidt Roth, was born Dec. 14, 1926, in her parent's home in Mediasch, Romania, in a German area called Siebenbürgen. Her father, Martin Friederich Schmidt, owned a local paint factory and her mother was Therese (Schwandtner) Schmidt. There were five children in her family, Traudi being the youngest. Her two older brothers, Fritz and Geri, have already passed away as well as her older sister Otti. Her sister Elfi resides in a nursing home in Germany.
Traudi grew up speaking German in a very loving family. Her father had a fun, outgoing personality and since Traudi was the youngest, she enjoyed the extra attention and special times running errands with her father in the winter time on a horse-drawn sleigh.
Traudi grew up like everyone else in those days with no telephone, no running water, an outhouse and a large garden with chickens running around in the yard. Unfortunately, her mother died when she was 50 years old from leukemia when Traudi was barely 14 years old. Her jolly father was never the same and passed away two years later from a stroke.
Traudi lived with her older sister Otti and her husband for a short time but quickly applied to a nursing school in Germany. In 1943 at the age of 17 Traudi faced the world alone by train from Romania to Berlin, Germany. God's hand of protection was on Traudi as many trains were being bombed by the US and British troops. Traudi successfully enrolled in an accelerated Registered Nursing Program due to the war and passed her exams in 18 months to become a nurse specializing in caring for newborn babies.
In the summer of 1944 all nursing students had to dig ditches which were intended to trap the tanks of the advancing Russian troops. Later that year, the nursing school was forced to shut down. Everyone had to return to family and friends. Since Traudi's parents had passed away, she decided to live in Vienna, Austria, with her mother's brother, Uncle Toni and his wife Aunt Matilde, who was a great cook. Traudi loved being in the kitchen with her and learned how to bake all the special German cookies, cakes, tortes and pastries which so many have had the pleasure of enjoying for many years.
Traudi worked in Vienna for about four years as a nurse in a Swiss Lutheran home for children who had lost their parents in the war. Traudi had met Doctor, known as Stephan, back then in Mediasch when she was 16 years old and Doc was 17 years old. They enjoyed getting to know each other by going to parties, dancing and singing together with friends. After Traudi went to nursing school they had no correspondence from 1943 to 1947 because Stephan was in prison camp in France. Stephan searched for Traudi and sent her letter after letter and the love letters continued for several years until Traudi was able to travel from Vienna to the medical university in Graz, Austria to see Stephan.
Traudi moved to Graz in 1952 to work at the University Children's Hospital for premature babies. Finally on a cold, snowy Feb. 26, 1956 day, Stephan and Traudi married in St. Veit a.d. Glan in Austria and after Stephan passed the medical exams decided to embark upon new opportunities by going to America.
Stephan and Traudi Roth left the harbor in Bremen, Germany on Aug. 9, 1956, to travel across the Atlantic ocean by ship with 2,500 other immigrants. One week later they arrived in New York City and got a cab to the Grand Central train station speaking only a few words of broken English. They were picked up by their Lutheran sponsors and taken to Sheldon, Ill., to begin their new life in America.
Instead of working as a doctor and nurse at the nursing home, they were ordered to clean bedpans. They were given free room and board in a hot attic reaching over 100 degrees. Traudi cried a lot and wanted to go back to Austria but they did not have enough money. They moved as soon as possible to Chicago in December 1956. Traudi found a job as a nurse at Chicago's Grant Hospital in the premature baby department while Doc studied to pass the Illinois State Medical Board Exam while learning English.
On New Year's Eve in 1957, they moved to Alton, Ill., for Doc to start his residency at the State Hospital. Heidi was born on May 14, 1958, and Ingrid was born on March 22, 1960, both in Alton.
In June 1961 the Roth family moved to Colchester. Traudi was involved in many roles and functions within the community. She was an active member of the Lions Club, on the Colchester Library board for 25 years, volunteered with the Red Cross for their annual blood drives, drove cancer patients to their appointments and always gave a helpful hand with her kind heart. She baked delicious pastries, cookies and cakes for all school functions as she was an avid Colchester Indian fan. Traudi enjoyed teaching German, growing flowers, reading, skiing, swimming, playing tennis and hiking. Traudi loved children, especially babies and knitted dozens of baby booties for each new bundle of love added into the world. She loved her grandchildren, Brian, Gretchen, Nicholas and Brett and always was there to snuggle and sing to them.
After living in America for six years, the Roth family first flew back to Europe in 1962 to visit family and friends and traveled to Germany, Austria and Romania about every three years after that. Doc and Traudi also had adventures in Jamaica, Portugal, Spain, Morocco, the Caribbean, Brazil, Argentina, Peru, South Korea and Africa. Traudi traveled to almost every state but most of all she made many trips to Colorado and California to see her daughters and grandchildren.
In 1967 they built their home in Colchester and have lived there ever since. Traudi had a progressive form of dementia for the last 12 years and had several mini-strokes, making it unable for her to speak but she still was able to sing for many years. She continued to show her love and kindness with the twinkle in her sparkling blue eyes and was an amazing example to all of us. Traudi lived her life for the Lord, and it showed by her strength, and maintaining a positive attitude on life. Traudi had a heart attack and passed away in the loving arms of Jesus at her home on July 2, 2013. She will be missed dearly as she brightened any room with her presence and smile.
After 57 years of marriage, she is survived by her husband, Stephan Ludwig Roth in Colchester, her daughter Heidi (Roth) Sutherland and husband Steve in Black Forest, Colo., with children Brian and Gretchen and her daughter Ingrid (Roth) Kraus and her husband Erik in Redondo Beach, Calif., with children Nicholas and Brett.
The visitation will be held at Jones Mortuary in Colchester from 4 to 7 p.m. on Monday, July 8. A memorial service honoring the life of Traudi Roth will be held at Immanuel Lutheran Church, 906 E. Grant St. Macomb, at noon on Tuesday, July 9. The family will have a private graveside service at Mt. Auburn Cemetery in Colchester.
Friends may view and sign the register book at the funeral home after 9 a.m. Monday. If you wish to continue to spread her love, in lieu of flowers, donations may be made to: McDonough District Hospital (MDH) Hospice 525 E. Grant Street Macomb, IL 61455, or The Colchester Rescue Squad, 217 East Depot St.Colchester, IL 62326 or Immanuel Lutheran Church 906 E. Grant Street Macomb, IL 61455.
To leave condolences to the family visit online at jonesmortuaryfh.com.