Theresia Echelle

November 20, 1920 ‒ February 22, 2011

Adairo, Ohio

MANSFIELD: Theresia Echelle had a sweet and gentle spirit that belied the hardships and atrocities she endured. Much is written about the treatment of the Jews during the second world war, but little thought is given to the Danube Swabians – German peoples who lived in the Danube River valley of the former Kingdom of Austria-Hungry. Like a scene from “Dr. Zhivago”, as the Germans retreated, the advancing Russians stripped these families of their possessions and interned them. Once the majority, as their region was continually redistricted, they became the minority.

Theresia Echelle, a survivor of the hostilities toward the “Donauschwaben”, passed away Tuesday afternoon February 22, 2011. She was 90.

Born November 20, 1920 in Karlsdorf, Austria-Hungary, to Kasper and Anna (Welder) Jegl. At a very young age she caught the eye of another student on the morning train commute to school. Franz Echelle was a talented student at the private Jesuit school. He courted her and the two were married October 15, 1938.

Theresia worked in a general goods store, and Franz was the accountant for a major sausage factory, when they were admonish to leave in the night. That was October of 1944, and for the next eight years endured seven different refugee camps before going to Schwabenlager near Salzburg.

In 1952, she was granted entrance to the United States, leaving Salzburg and settling in Mansfield, as their family sponsor was here.

Theresia worked with the Tappan Stove Company, first in the cafeteria, then on the assembly line. She retired from Tappan in 1982.

Theresia was a member of St. Peter’s Catholic Church and was talented in so many areas: her needlepoint looks less like fabric than an oil painting, and she could cook and bake ~ she made picture perfect cookies ~ turning a few staples into a delightful meal.

Theresia was a devoted wife, loving mother, grandmother and great grandmother who’s life displayed both courage and character. She is survived by her son and daughter-in-law Josef P. and Sandi Echelle of Aberdeen, New Jersey; her daughter Annemarie Echelle of Mansfield; her daughter and son-in-law Liselotte and Wayne Burdette of Westerville; grandchildren and their spouses Leah and James Waltz of Evergreen, Colorado, Carrie Echelle of Denver, Colorado, Alisa & Dave Franklin of Westerville and Kristi & Richard Arrington of Mooresville, North Carolina; great grandchildren Jake Waltz, Cameron Waltz, Halle Bristow, Hope Bristow and Wyatt Arrington; and a niece and her family Ingrid & Tim Casler of Mansfield

She was preceded in death by her husband of 65 years Franz Echelle on December 16, 2003.

Her graveside funeral service will be held Saturday, February 26, 2011 at 11 a.m. in Lexington Cemetery. Father Tony Borgia will officiate.

Memorial contributions to the American Heart Association, American Cancer Society or Monsignor Dunn Scholarship Fund may be made at the funeral home.

The Lexington Avenue Snyder Funeral Home is honored to serve the Echelle family, and private condolences to them may be made online by visiting: