Carol Wandschneider

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 ( or to St. Andrews Episcopal Church at 1125 Franklin St, Downers Grove, IL 60515.

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