Elkhart – LaVerne Angeline Herzberg, 96, of Elkhart passed away peacefully surrounded by her family Tuesday, November 26, 2019 at 6:35 p.m. at Greenleaf Health Campus. She had been living at Eastlake Terrace Assisted Living for the past 14 months.
LaVerne was born to the late Bruno and Angeline (Doneski) Zimm in Chicago, Illinois on August 14, 1923.
LaVerne met “the love of her life”, J. Paul Herzberg, in 1944 at the Aragon Ballroom while he was stationed with the Navy. They married on September 7, 1946 in Muskegon, Michigan and shared almost fifty years of marriage until his passing on April 30, 1996. She is also preceded in death by her son Robert P. Herzberg and brother Robert Zimm.
She is survived by her four daughters; Mary (James) Burns, Nancy (James) Morningstar, Kathy (Steven) Sponseller, and Barbie (Jan Brabec) Herzberg, all of Elkhart, and son Richard (Audrey) Herzberg of Granger, IN. She is also survived by ten grandchildren; Chancey (Brandi) Kretschmer, Paula (Travis) Eacret, Amanda (Rick) Wollnick, Sophia (Shaun) Wixson, Jamie (Cindy) Posey, Brett (Liz) Herzberg, Jeffrey Morningstar, Julie (Evan) Balk, Emily (Brandon) Paulus, and Jessie (Nikki Mogle) Sponseller, and 15 great-grandchildren, with one more on the way.
In Chicago, LaVerne enjoyed singing in various venues and worked at the Continental Bank of Chicago until her marriage. After marrying, she and Paul moved to Elkhart to live and raise their own family, while being not too far from their families who resided in Chicago and Muskegon, MI. Her family was most important to her, and she loved being a stay-at-home mother to her six children, but found herself being pulled back into the arts world as they grew older. From 1968 to 2003 she acted, sang, and danced in 30 shows at the Bristol Opera House plus seven other theaters in the area. Some of her more memorable performances were in “Hello Dolly!” (as Dolly Levi), “Pippin”, “Cabaret”, and “Arsenic and Old Lace”.
She was also active in the Athena Club, Matinee Musicale, Frontier Club, Elkhart Symphony Auxiliary, and was the Elkhart General Hospital Auxiliary puppet lady. She also performed original theatrical presentations with friend Lillian Conley, performing with Playhouse Productions in their traveling dinner theater murder mystery shows, and singing for seven years for the residents in area nursing homes. LaVerne also tap danced with the YWCA Rockerettes dance group for decades, delighting audiences throughout the community with their dancing, as well as her own her solo tap performances.
LaVerne was a faithful member of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Elkhart, participating in the Episcopal Church Women, Lectors, the Altar Guild, scheduling Lectors, and in other capacities. She especially enjoyed being a lector, which she did until her 90s.
We want to thank the staff of Eastlake Terrace, Greenleaf Health Campus, and Elkhart General Hospital for their skillful and compassionate care of LaVerne during her last 14 months. She will be remembered for her smile, her tapping feet, and for singing a tune at any given moment. She truly loved to entertain.
Visitation for LaVerne will be Friday from 4:00pm -7:00pm at Hartzler-Gutermuth-Inman Funeral Home, 403 W. Franklin Street., Elkhart, IN 46516. A celebration of LaVerne’s life will be at 11:00am at St. John’s Episcopal Church, 226 West Lexington Ave., Elkhart, IN 46516, with visitation one hour before the service. Pastor Terri Peterson will officiate. Her Homily will be given by the Rev. Canon Richard Kallenberg.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to St. John’s Episcopal Church, 226 West Lexington Ave., Elkhart, IN 46516 or Elkhart Civic Theater, 210 E. Vistula St., Bristol, IN 46507.
To send flowers to LaVerne's family, please visit our floral section.
Elkhart Civic Theatre
P.O. Box 252, Bristol IN 46507
St. John's Episcopal
226 W. Lexington Ave, Elkhart IN 46516