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Mary Teresa Wernimont Reiling (1866-1945)

REILING, WERNIMONT, GEHLING, SCHELLE, UNDERBERG, ROSONKE, PETERS, SCHIRCK

Posted By: Richard Gehling (email)
Date: 6/27/2010 at 13:57:20

Mary Teresa was born 18 August 1866 in Dubuque County, Iowa. She was one of fourteen children of John Wernimont and Anna Catherine Peters. After her parents moved to a farm in Kniest Township near Breda, Iowa, she met and fell in love with Albert Reiling from nearby Mt. Cannel. They were married on 19 January 1886 at St. Bernard's Catholic Church in Breda, Iowa. The newlyweds rented farms for thirteen years, then in 1899 bought their own place four and one-half miles east of Breda, Iowa. There they reared a dozen children:

1. Clara Catherine - Born Tuesday evening, 8 February 1887
2. William Edward - Born at 11:30 P.M., 18 March 1889
3. Anna Mary - Born 2 December 1890. Lived only six weeks.
4. Caroline Mary - Born 12 December 1890
5. Regina Teresa- Born at 2 A.M. Monday, 23 October 1893
6. John Sudger - Born at 2 P.M., 26 March 1895
7. Wendlin Joseph - Born 5 November 1896
8. Theodore Albert - Born on Monday morning, 4 March 1898
9. Francis Salomon - Born at 7 P.M. Tuesday, 20 February 1900
10. Gregory- - Born at 9 A.M. Wednesday, 12 March 1902
11. Anthony Henry- - Born at 7 P.M. Tuesday, 17 January 1905
12. Mary Teresa- Born at 1 A.M. Wed, 20 September 1911

Mary Teresa and Albert celebrated their Golden Wedding Anniversary in January of 1936. Albert died of cancer just 15 months later. Mary Teresa survived him by nearly eight years. On 20 February 1938, she broke her hip, necessitating a four-month long hospital stay at St. Anthony's in Carroll, Iowa. On Mary Teresa's release from the hospital in late June, her daughter Regina came with five of her children to help in the slow recuperation. Regina did not leave until the last of February, 1939.

In mid-June of 1941, the surviving Reiling children (William, Clara, Caroline, Regina, John, Wendlin, Theodore, Frank and Mary) got together to appoint one of their number to manage their mother's business affairs. The result was an "agreement," signed by Mary Teresa and all of her children:

"We the undersigned, being all of the living children of Mary Reiling, enter into this mutual agreement with our mother, Mary Reiling, and between each other.

"That our mother, Mary Reiling, being of an advanced age, it is desirable that she have a younger person act as her agent or manager in the transaction of her business.

"That we hereby nominate and appoint Theo. Reiling to act as her agent or manager in connection with all her property, both real and personal, to receive all income and make any disbursements in connection therewith until her death or until someone else is appointed.

"That said Theo. Reiling shall at least once every year give an accounting to each of the undersigned of all moneys received and paid out and of his doings as such agent or manager.

"And it shall be the duty of said Theo. Reiling, agent or manager of our mother Mary Reiling, to pay all of her taxes that may be due and owing and when they become due; receive her income from all sources; supervise her business; pay all just dues and expenses incidental or in connection with her business; see to it that she has the proper medical and personal care and otherwise maintain her living conditions such as she is accustomed to, and give her such care and attention that would be expected of a just and reasonable person.

"That Theo. Reiling, the agent or manager of our mother mentioned herein, shall be entitled to make a charge for his services that are reasonable and just; such as mileage and expenses for his time in connection with looking after our mother's business.

"Dated this 11th day of June, 1941."

Mary Teresa lived for another four and a half years. She died on Christmas Eve, 1945, during a fierce Iowa blizzard. As she neared the end, all but one of her nine living children were gathered at her bedside, and that one - Caroline Underberg of Springville, New York - was racing homeward on a cross-country train. While her mother clung tenaciously to life, two of her sons drove five miles through the blowing snow to meet the train in Carroll, Iowa. They returned home with Caroline just in time to say their goodbyes before Mary Teresa's peaceful passage from this life. "Mother is with Father for Christmas," her children are reported to have murmured to one another.

Mary Teresa was buried beside her husband in the little cemetery at Mt. Carmel, Iowa.

Firstborn Sons of the Gehling Family
 

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