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Magel, Etelka

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May 30, 1912 - April 25, 2015

Magel, Etelka

Etelka M. Kaderli Magel
May 30, 1912 – April 25, 2015

Etelka M. Magel died peacefully on April 25, 2015 at 1:40 p.m. at age 102 years and 11 months in Plano, TX, at DaySpring Assisted Living.  A longtime resident of San Antonio, TX, she moved into assisted living in Plano in 2001 to be near her daughters and other family; she remained an avid NBA Spurs fan after the move.  She had few health issues in her lifetime and was relatively active through age 100, then declined due to aging over the last years. She entered hospice care in November 2014, which allowed her to remain in familiar surroundings in assisted living until her passing.

She was born in Guadalupe County on May 30, 1912 to parents Ernestine Rauch Kaderli and Harry Kaderli. Her younger brother preceded her in death in childhood. Etelka Minnie Kaderli married Elgin Henry Herman Magel on October 15, 1932 and they were married until his death in 1992. They lived in Houston during WW II but made San Antonio their home for decades, raising two daughters who are both graduates of Edison High School in San Antonio. She especially loved the square dancing they enjoyed as a couple.

She is survived by daughter and son-in-law, Barbara Magel Dickerson and Kenneth Dickerson, Plano, TX; daughter Patricia Carole Magel, Irving, TX; nieces Carolyn Swerk Cobb (husband Phil Cobb, deceased) and Gloria Swerk Lenning (husband Wayne Lenning), San Antonio, TX; nephew Gregory Magel (wife Lissa Magel), Dallas, TX; grandson Philip Dickerson, Pasadena, CA; grandson Jeffrey Dickerson (wife Donatella Dickerson), Plano, TX; two great-granddaughters and two great-great grandchildren, all of Plano, TX.

Etelka, who was also called “Teri,” was preceded in death by her parents, brother, infant son, husband and many family members who enriched her life and the lives of her daughters: Doris Magel Swerk and husband Edward Swerk, San Antonio; Arlon Magel, San Antonio; Cleburne Magel, New Braunfels; and Ferdie (Fritz) Magel and wife Isabel Leoni Magel, longtime residents of Houston who retired to New Braunfels.

103 years is a long time and Etelka Magel’s life reflects the complexity and change of the 20th century. She worked hard, enjoyed family and friends, and persevered no matter what life brought her way. Although refused a hospital bed during the 1918-1919 Spanish flu epidemic because she was declared “hopeless for recovery,” she somehow survived the illness as a young child that took her father’s life. She spoke only German until starting school. By age 12 she was active in her mother’s butter business, responsible for feeding and milking the cows, churning butter daily and delivering it to customers in New Braunfels by horse-drawn buggy. As a teen she traveled to Dallas alone on a bus with just enough money for one night in a hotel. On her second day she was hired to help care for two young children of a wealthy Spanish family temporarily living in Dallas for business ventures. After two years, she returned to San Antonio to attend business school and used her skills in many jobs over her life, including in payroll at National Biscuit Co. in Houston during WW II, owning two small businesses in San Antonio, keeping books at a grocery distribution company, and assisting her husband with his bookstore business in downtown San Antonio.  After “retirement” she enjoyed working in the gift shop at the Hyatt Hotel on the Riverwalk where she loved meeting people from around the world and also met a few celebrities, including “Dandy Don” Meredith. She worked part-time until age 80.

She married and bore her first child during the Depression, nearly died from premature childbirth complications and lost the infant son from that birth during WW II, and surprised all who knew her with the birth of an unexpected late-in-life third child. She recovered from serious head surgery after a fall in 2001.

Just as life might have been quieter, she started over, as the second daughter started first grade a year after the first-born daughter married. She had children in school and all the activities that entails from the mid-1940’s until 1976. Her husband always said, “it kept us young.” Few could guess her actual age in her 80’s and 90’s as her bright spirit and friendliness kept her active with many much younger than her. She loved outing with her friends at San Antonio’s Pilgrim Presbyterian Church during her 80’s and played cards and dominoes at her assisted living center in her 90’s. She was usually the dominoes winner until her late 90’s.

The family would like to express our gratitude to the staffs in Plano at Colonial Lodge Assisted Living and DaySpring Assisted Living; to Mary Lou and “Barney,” faithful friend and therapy dog who brought joy each day they visited over many years; also to the caring professionals from Faith Presbyterian Hospice.  All of these caregivers contributed compassionately to her health, happiness and comfort during her years in Plano.

Family will celebrate her life at a private gathering. No flowers, please. Those wishing to honor Etelka M. Magel are asked to make a donation in her memory to a charity of their choice. Choices she would have appreciated are the areas of dance, musical theatre and animal rescue.

Arrangements are under the direction of
ARIA Cremation Service and Funeral Home
19310 Preston Road
Dallas, Texas 75252

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Linda Holden Ford

July 06, 2017 2:48PM

My 2nd Mom and 2nd mom to many of us in San Antonio in the 60's and 70's. You will be missed so much.