Inez Margretta “Zeni” Lenz Mueller
8 December 1911 – 8 August 1992
I don’t usually do more recent burials, but I was so charmed by this headstone I wanted to research it a bit. And also, even though it doesn’t seem long ago to me, Zeni did pass away almost thirty years ago!
Zeni was born and raised in Escanaba, Michigan (Upper Peninsula), up the Lake Michigan coast from her parent’s hometown of Neenah, Wisconsin.
Her teenage years were marred by tragedy. Her father Albert died suddenly in 1925 at only 43. In 1929, after she, her mother Barbara, and ten-years-older brother Merle moved to Chicago, Merle died on Christmas Eve from carbon monoxide poisoning. He’d taken a nap in his running taxi with the windows rolled up and never woke up.
It’s unclear if the little family had moved to Chicago for Zeni, but at this time she would have just completed her first semester at the University of Chicago. Zeni and her mother Barbara persevered in spite of these terrible losses, and Inez graduated in 1933 with a BS. In 1949, the last census we have for them, Barbara was going by Margaretta (which I believe was her middle name) and working as an electrologist. Zeni wasn’t working or looking for work, according to her census answers, but shortly after, she married Jerome V. Mueller.
From there, the public records don’t tell us much more. Jerome served in World War II and returned home. The couple had two children, a son and a daughter. Her mother appears to have moved back to Wisconsin at some point after Zeni married, and she passed away in 1952 and was buried beside her husband and son at Oak Hill Cemetery in Neenah.
Jerome passed away in 1975 and is buried at Memorial Park as well. Zeni lived another 17 years, I hope enjoying the time with her children, friends, and eight grandchildren.
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