Lena E. Newman, 101, died Sunday, March 25, 2018, in her sleep at home in Woodstock.
She was born Jan. 1, 1917, to immigrant Belgian parents, Elodie (Van Compernolle) and John DeBrower, in Harvard.
On Oct. 12, 1940, she married Charles H. Newman in Woodstock.
She was valedictorian of her 1934 class at Harvard High School. Even though times were hard after the Depression, she went right to work for Jewett & Wright Abstract Co. in Woodstock, which eventually became the McHenry County Title Co. From 1943 to 1955, she took time off to raise her family, while also working part time as a bookkeeper for Hahn Oil, the Smoke House Tavern, and her husband’s businesses, Newman’s Log Cabin and Newman Insurance. When her husband died in 1961, she went back to work full-time at the title company, becoming vice president in 1979; she retired in 1982.
Lena was very active in social and professional women’s groups such as the Har-Wood Club, the VFW, the Doe Club, and the Woodstock Professional and Business Women. During her tenure in the WPBW, she was instrumental in getting the Spring House built on the Woodstock Square. She enjoyed playing pinochle, listening to pop music on WLS radio while she worked in the kitchen, watching golf and tennis on TV, and tending her flower garden. She was appointed by the mayor in the 1970s to serve on the Woodstock Plan Commission. Her faith and activities supporting St. Mary Catholic Church were important to her; after she retired, she became a daily participant in the Mass and prayer group.
She is survived by a daughter, Marilyn (John) Fettes, Huntley; two sons, Bob (Janice) Newman, Ankeny, Iowa, and Tom (Katie) Newman, Champaign, eight grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by a son, Martin, as well as her parents, husband, and four brothers, Charles, Fred, Frank, and Elmer DeBrower.
Funeral Mass was April 2 at St. Mary Catholic Church, Woodstock. Burial was in Greenwood Cemetery.
Arrangements were made by Schneider, Leucht, Merwin, & Cooney Funeral Home, Woodstock. Memorials can be made to the Woodstock Food Pantry, 1033 Lake Ave., Woodstock, IL 60098.