CHARLESTON – Clarissa Ann Heise-Elzy, 77, of Charleston, passed away at 1:02 a.m. Saturday, July 11, 2020 at Carle Foundation Hospital, Urbana.
The Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:00 a.m. Friday, July 17, 2020 at Newman Center, Charleston, with Father Braden Maher officiating. Interment will be private. Visitation will begin at 3:00 pm Thursday at the Newman Center. To protect everyone the family requests that masks be worn and physical distancing guidelines be followed.
Ann was born August 28, 1942 at Urbana, daughter of Joseph M. and Ruth I. (Wheeler) Schumacher. She married William J. Heise, Jr., June 6, 1964 at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, Mattoon. He preceded her into heaven, March 5, 2006. She later married Carl Elzy, April 18, 2009; he survives. Also surviving are her children: Mark Heise (Richelle) of Venice, FL, Gretchen Underwood (Jason) of Maroa, IL, Bridget Skoczylas (Ed) of Park Ridge, IL, Sarah Watson (Nathan) of Urbana, IL, Annie Barber (Ron), Ruthann Hughes (Kenny), and Michael Heise (Amelia), all of Charleston. Two brothers: David Schumacher and wife Evelyn of Springfield, IL and Paul Schumacher and wife Deborah of Mattoon. By birth or by marriage, Ann has been blessed with twenty-seven grandchildren and seventeen great-grandchildren. Her second marriage to Carl Elzy brought her a bonus family that she actively nurtured and loved: stepdaughters Debbie, Pam and Janette, 6 grandkids and 10 great-grandchildren. Ann was also preceded in death by her parents.
As a child of a military family she was accustomed to moving about the world, and her interest in the global perspective pervaded her adult life. In the 70s, she and Bill (with close friends Tom/Jan Lynch and Bob/Ann Wharton) established homes and welcomed two Vietnamese families to Charleston as they immigrated to the U.S. Later, she welcomed international students into her own home through AFS and The Language Company: from Chile, Norway, Germany, Bolivia, France, Panama, and India. She continued to love to travel, to explore Europe, visit family in Florida, meet her sponsored child in Mexico, and even met the pope in Italy.
Ann was an avid do-er and giver. She knitted blankets, sewed clothes, made books to give to young children - all items the family has come to cherish. Organization being a dominant talent, she was constantly on the look-out for nice used tableware to purchase, pack and present to international students on arrival to EIU. She also loved to volunteer at fundraising rummage sales for AFS and St. Charles Church. She tirelessly collected life information about hundreds of family members to create a priceless record of genealogy for the Heise/Schumacher families. She loved to do puzzles with her mother and later took her puzzle passion to the Charleston Public Library where the community was invited to assist in the completion of a colorful Disney puzzle of more than 40,000 pieces. She donated the finished piece of art which now covers over 120 square feet of the library wall! Ann was also known for her love of cats -her restful diversion at home.
Ann joyfully practiced her Christian life in the traditions of Roman Catholicism. She was a part of the GIFT community at St. Charles Borromeo Church, which emphasizes acts of love and service toward the body of believers. She adored sharing life and laughs with her dinner group. Ann actively prayed and often talked about listening to the Lord and following Him. She was always humble and sought to bring peace and forgiveness to all her relationships. She had a sincere heart for her clients at CCAR, and her friendships there did not end after retirement.
One of her most proud accomplishments was that she raised seven children who were all graduates of Eastern Illinois University and were all (in her estimation) making healthy lives for themselves.
She never took the limelight, but she certainly did shine the love of Jesus. Her life is deeply cherished by so many and will be celebrated for many years to come. Memorial gifts may be left for Coles County Animal Shelter or the Charleston Public Library.
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