July 23, 1908 – April 6, 2002
This is Anna Tirheimer – My Godel, My Godmother, My Auntie Anna. She has been loving to me and my sister Cathy since our births. And we want you to know how much she is loved by us.
She was born Anna Rosenzweig, July 23 1908 in Los Angeles, California. She was the third of nine children. She had an older sister Josephine, an older brother Stephen, now both deceased. Next came my mother Katherine, then David and Nicholas, all deceased. Elizabeth and Eva came next and are now the only remaining two, as the youngest in the family, Grace died in February.
Auntie Anna was the Matriarch of our family for the past seven years. The honor has now passed on to Elizabeth as the oldest of the Rosenzweig lineage.
There are so many details to share about Auntie Anna’s life but I especially want you to know that she and my mom, Katherine, could not have been closer if they were twins.
Anna always watched out for Katherine, because she often needed a boost.
. On the prairie (in Saskatchewan, Canada) they were close as children, growing up and
watching over the younger children so Grandma could work in the fields with Grandpa.
. They worked together in the Laundry in Los Angeles. My mom worked in the laundry
when she was pregnant with me..and I love to do the laundry!
. She was there when my baby sister, Kathleen Francis was stillborn, and my mom came
home from the hospital without her baby. This was a horrible tragedy for my family
and is my earliest memory.
. They were widows together- Just 10 days apart and their burial sites are now all in a
row. Uncle Pete died 10 days before my father Frank, another horrible tragedy in our
Auntie Anna and David became part of our family after Uncle Pete and my dad died. We did everything together. That’s when we learned just how funny she could be, and we fell totally in love with her. Before that she was too serious….and too stern!!!
Auntie Anna was fiercely independent. She did not want to leave her home in Los Angeles after the Watt’s Riots. She stayed until her door was kicked down on the third force entry. She did not want to leave her home as she didn’t have to ask anyone for help, because she could walk up on Florence Ave and do her shopping and banking all by herself.
One day a man tried to steal her purse in the rain, she beat him off with her umbrella! That’s how tough she was---he didn’t get her purse!
She never learned to drive, even though she took lessons after Uncle Peter died. Both Katherine and Auntie Anna took driving lessons together. The driving teacher took his life in his hands those days, because she couldn’t see out of one eye and couldn’t judge distance. Needless to say she didn’t get her drivers license, and neither did Mom after driving through the fence at the Rancho and ending up in the middle of the field. For our safety and theirs, we wouldn’t let them drive!
So I became the chauffer most times, until she moved to La Habra where she worked at the Whittier Hospital with Rosemary. They worked hard labor, scrubbing pots and pans and other dishwashing duties.
After that she moved to Menifee Valley in her mobile home, next to her unfinished house that Uncle Pete started, and to this day has never been completed. David moved in there and they had a symbiotic relationship ever since. Each depending on the other to get their needs met.
She loved her three children the most. They were all born quite a few years apart, so it was like raising a single child – 3 times. When she had David, she already had 2 grandchildren, Pat and Ronnie. They were able to grow up together, and had a special place in her heart.
She had 12 grandchildren, 33 great grandchildren, and even great –great grandchildren. With Rosemary and Tom, Raymond and Millie…both having blended families because of previous marriages.
My sister, Cathy and I always knew we were welcome to visit. When we needed a hug, we’d go to our Auntie Anna, because she became our “Second Mom” when our mom, Katherine died 20 years ago.
She became like a Grandma for our kids as well and has been deeply loved by my Joanne, Roxanne and my Robby, as well as their kids and Cathy’s Joe, James and Jose and their kids.
She shared our sorrow when we lost sons and grandsons. When my Robby died, and Rosemary and Tom’s Michael died, Jean’s Jay died, and Ray and Millie’s grandson Eric died…she was always there to offer her support and love.
She was very religious at times (Catholic Faith), and talked about wanting to be a nun in her younger years. Her way to cope with life, the last few years was to pray the Rosary several times a day.
She kept up with life, because she would listen to talk radio and sometimes she would come out with very funny comments.
The last couple of years have been the hardest for her. She lost nearly all of her sight, and was able just to see the outlines of people. She needed a leg brace to walk, and a walker to get around. May times she became depressed about her “Loss of Independence” and didn’t like being alone. David helped more and more with meals and setting out her medications, etc.
Auntie Liz became her guardian Angel and took her to Doctor appointments, banking, out to lunch for a hamburger, etc. Auntie Liz put herself out and put her own health at risk. I love telling people about my 83 year old aunt, taking care of my 93 year old aunt!
***Thank you, Auntie Liz, for all you did for Auntie Anna.***
We have such tough women in our family. Just like Auntie Eva who lost her sidekick, Auntie Gracie, less than 2 months ago and taking care of her sick children and grandchildren. I am proud to be of this linage of tough “Rosenzweig women”!
Auntie Anna began to fall a lot until she was injured and received therapy in a nursing home. When the family decided to take care of her at home, she had a joyous night and morning. With Raymond, David and Rosemary there to welcome her home, enjoying her food with salt (because we know how hospital food is).
And in the morning, she had a stroke. She was then readmitted to the hospital and then transferred back to the nursing home. But too much damage had been done. The family rallied and came together the last few weeks. Ray and Millie were coming down from their mountain home and after work nearly every night. David stayed by her side and became her primary care provider. Rosemary gained strength to be at her mother’s side daily. Sixteen of us were in and out at her deathbed on Saturday when she finally let go.
What a privilege it has been to share these past 60 years with my Auntie Anna and to have shared the end of her life.
Cathy and I are honored to have spent the last night of her life with her. We’ll never forget it. She had such fierce pride and never wanted anyone taking care of her, but in the end, everyone pitched in!
The words that come to me to describe her are…Respected, Accepting, Tough, Stubborn, Honorable, Loved and Loving, and Very Funny at Times.
I will love her forever and she will live on in my heart and in my work as a Social Worker, as I share with others about , My Godel, My Godmother, My Auntie Anna, My Second Mom.
Auntie Anna, as your mother used to say “Im Gottnamen” which means “In Gods Name” …we will miss you and we will love you Forever and ever…Amen.