For 75 years Carol Wendell Wandschneider shared a determined, droll and independent spirit with her family and community. Her legacy upon passing on February 5, 2020 is the impact of her efforts to ensure that every person who lived and worked and died in Downers Grove would be remembered for generations to come.
Born August 30, 1944 in Hinsdale, Illinois to Pauline and Fritz Wandschneider, Carol was raised with her sister Pauline (Wandschneider) Buchanan in Downers Grove, where her mother founded the Downers Grove Historical Society in the 1960s. A member of St. Andrews Church from birth, she graduated first from Downers Grove High School (now North High), then from the University of Illinois with a Bachelor of Science in Home Economics. Following a long career in food service, she returned to her hometown and spent 17 years as a prominent community volunteer and avid archivist of the lives lived in Downers Grove.
Carol understood both the importance and the limitations of stone and paper to preserve people’s memories. Though she was a traditionalist in many ways, she embraced new technology to make sure that future generations were able to find Downers Grove ancestors and friends from old photographs, headstones, phone books, newspaper obituaries and marriage announcements, and high school yearbooks in the digital age.
Her dedication to community extended to serving on numerous boards and committees, notably those of the Downers Grove Historical Society, the Daughters of the American Revolution Downers Grove Chapter, the Huguenut Society of Illinois and the Archive Committee at St. Andrew’s Church.
Carol’s attention to detail and commitment to service manifested in everyday ways with her family, always accompanied by her acerbic wit. She never failed to mail a greeting card to her sister, niece Carlye W. (Buchanan) Dooley and nephew James Duncan (J.D.) Buchanan Jr. for every occasion… even Halloween. Each year she asked her family to stuff her stocking with toiletries for the homeless veterans for whom she knitted hats and scarves. And she enjoyed attending her sister’s New Year’s Eve parties in costume – one year as Queen Victoria (the widow) when the theme was “famous pairs.”
Carol’s family will celebrate her legacy at a memorial in Downers Grove to be held in the Spring of 2020, date to be announced. In lieu of flowers please consider a donation to the Downers Grove Historical Society (www.DownersGrovehistory.org) or to St. Andrews Episcopal Church at 1125 Franklin St, Downers Grove, IL 60515.
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Nancy Jo Peters
My heart is broken to learn of the passing of a dear sorority sister / Sigma Kappa/ from the U of I. Always an upbeat person who I know enjoyed her dedication to the history of Downers Grove., and to our sorority. My sincere condolences to all her family members.
Polly Buchanan, Carol’s sister
Your thoughts are appreciated.
I am so sorry to learn that we have lost another wonderful pledge sister. Carol was always full of life and humor. She definitely contributed to our fun at Illinois. But she was also serious about friendship and our sister bond. To Carol’s family and friends I wish you happy memories of your times with her.
Polly Buchanan, Carol’s sister
Dear family of Carol,
I am a Sigma Kappa from the University of Illinois. I remember Carol as a avid mentor and advisor to our recolonized chapter in the mid 70’s. I know she spent hours helping our chapter to succeed, and am so appreciative to all she did for us.
My prayers are with you,
Betsy Knecht Smith
I am so sorry to hear about Carol. I knew her at the U. Of Ill . She was a happy person and loved life. My deepest condolences. My wife , Jo Ann Mech (leavitt) also knew her in High School in Downers Grove. We are both saddened by her passing.
I am shocked and saddened at the death of Carol. She was my roommate, pizza eater, and avid bridge player. We shared many happy times together. We even got into a little trouble together. Oh, those glorious days! She was a wonderful woman in our chapter and her home town. We had kept in touch at Christmas for years. I thought it was strange she did not come to our last luncheon. I emailed her to ask if she was okay. No answer and then No Christmas letter. Why did not I call her. Iwill always regret I did not follow up. We were such good friends. I am sure Carol will find a special place in heaven. My heartfelt condolences to all of you! Please let me know how I can send a memorial donation. I would also like to come to the memorial service in the spring. My best to all of you. Ann Messman Wedgbury pledge class 1962