Mildred Eileen Biesendorfer, 96, of Manteno, passed away Friday (Oct. 11, 2019) at Riverside Medical Center in Kankakee, with her family by her side.

Eileen was born Jan. 8, 1923, in Newell, Iowa, the daughter of Albert and Mildred (Papik) Witter.

She was baptized into the Christian faith Jan. 11, 1923, at her home by the Rev. E. Locner. She was confirmed May 16, 1937, at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church by the Rev. Paul Stephen.

Eileen was married to Arthur William “Bill” Biesendorfer Jr. on Oct. 3, 1942, at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Council Bluffs, Iowa, by the Rev. Martin Mueller. Bill preceded her in death in 1994.

Four children were born to Bill and Eileen: William Joe (Diane), of Broomfield, Colo., and their children are John (Kari) and Jennifer (Chris Raskay); Linda Eileen (Paul Schreck), of Bourbonnais, and their children are Adam (Zsuzsanna), Amy (Justin Tibbetts), Alyssa (Johnson Folahan) and Kelsey (Daniel Richardson); Steven Albert (Marya), of Arvada, Colo., and their children are Sean (Suzanne), Katie (Phillip Ricks) and Conner; Robert James (Lyn), of Marthasville, Mo., and their children are Julee and Tim (Danielle Jones). In addition to her 11 grandchildren, she had 14 great-grandchildren, Benjamin, Dylan, Kyle, Zorah, Elliana, Julia, Elijah, Elisha, Megan, Michael, Elizabeth, Wesley, Emmanuel, Ethan and Ezekiel; and one great-great-grandchild, Gideon.

After high school, Eileen became a hair stylist. While Bill was overseas during World War II, she lived in Carbondale with her parents and oldest son and there became a photograph retoucher and colorist. When Bill returned home, they owned photo studios in Fremont, Neb., and Council Bluffs, Iowa. They moved to Illinois in 1963. She worked at Sears in Oak Brook for 10 years and then at Elmhurst Hospital, retiring in 1986. Upon their retirements, Bill and Eileen moved to Bourbonnais. In 1988, she began working for Dr. Ronald Buczek until 2013, when she retired at the age of 90.

Eileen was active in the ladies’ organizations in all the churches she attended. She worked with Girl Scouts and participated in all her children’s, and when possible, her grandchildren’s and great-grandchildren’s activities. She enjoyed crafts, genealogy, cards, taking pictures and recording them. Her joy and treasure on earth was her family.

In addition to her husband, she was preceded in death by her parents, brother and sister.

Surviving are her immediate family; two sisters-in-law, Virginia Biesendorfer and Verna Witter; along with many nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.

“To live in the hearts of those we love is not to die.”

Visitation will be from 3 p.m. until 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 18, at Clancy-Gernon-Hertz Funeral Home in Kankakee. An additional time for visitation will be from noon on Saturday, Oct. 19, until the 1 p.m. funeral service at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Kankakee. Burial will be Thursday, Oct. 24, in Memorial Park Cemetery in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

Memorials may be made to St. Paul Lutheran Church in Kankakee.

Please sign her online guestbook at


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