The Netzel Mausoleum

R. Herman Netzel
October 18, 1873 – April 1, 1948

Mary J. (Haack) Netzel
May 8, 1876 – September 23, 1940

Henry W. Netzel
April 24, 1898 – December 28, 1966

Mary E. Netzel
November 17, 1898 – July 3, 1982

Herman Netzel was born in Germany in 1873 and according to his obituary had eight siblings. At twenty, he immigrated to the US, came to Chicago, and found work in a bakery.

In July 1897, he married Mary Haack, also a German immigrant. The census indicates she did not attend school. In 1910, she is listed as being a self-employed grocery salesperson which makes me wonder if she ran a market stand? In any case, an industrious young woman. Herman is still just working for a bakery, but Mary’s unmarried sister Bertha lives with them in 1910, I suspect to help care for their three young children (Henry 11, Elsie 9, and Ada (Edith) 7) while Herman and Mary work.

They lived on Thirteenth Street in Chicago for years, answering the census from there in both 1910 and 1930. But in 1940, Herman and Mary have moved to an adorable gingerbread house in northern Oak Park.

The family somehow skipped getting censused in 1920 but by 1930 mother Mary is no longer working outside the home and Herman owns his own bakery now! Their oldest child Henry is now married, and he and his wife (also named Mary) are living with Herman and Mary Sr. but their daughters are both married and living elsewhere. Henry works driving bakery truck though from the records it’s unclear if this is for his father (which I think it is) or as some kind of self-employed middle-man. There’s an answer on a registration card on file that makes it seem he’s not working for anyone, but the other reason for that might be he’s considered an owner in the family bakery business.

By 1940, Henry and Mary Jr have a daughter (who is still living, so I’m omitting her name). They own their own home in Berwyn. It appears Henry is now in real estate somehow, labeling himself an “owner” so his money comes from owning property, though it may be commercial since it doesn’t just say landlord which implies housing. Or he may now be the owner of the family bakery, but since that isn’t how he styles himself, I think investing in property is his source of income.

Herman and Mary Sr. have moved to their awesome new house, and their daughter Elsie has moved in with them with her son. She’s listed as Elsie Netzel on the census which may have been confusion on the census-taker’s part or just spite as Elsie and her husband had apparently recently divorced. Later documents don’t indicate she changed her name back to Netzel post-divorce, so I’m Team Spite. Ada (who is legally named Edith so probably the census-taker wrote her name down wrong in 1910) also married and had one daughter.

Sadly, Mary Sr. died in September 1940. I hope they moved into that darling house right after the 1930 census so she was able to enjoy it fully. She worked hard; she deserved to enjoy her adorable house for a good long time. Herman passed in April 1948 and had a nice little obituary in the Chicago Tribune (April 4, 1948).

Mary Sr. was the first person in the mausoleum to pass away, so it was presumably built for her. She and Herman are entombed together, their son and daughter-in-law across from them. Henry and Mary Jr.’s only child and her husband have the other two berths. The son-in-law has already passed but, again, as their daughter (and I believe all Herman and Mary’s grandchildren) are still alive, I’ll leave those names and dates out. Their info is easily found in the public records, but it feels a bit weird to include it here. Elsie and Edith are buried elsewhere.

RIP Netzels

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