Myrtle E. Gwaltney

Date of Birth

May 17,1920

Date of Death

Sep 01,2006

MYRTLE E. GWALTNEYAge 86 of South Elgin, IL, left this life as she had hoped; living to the very last but leaving in a heartbeat when she heard her Savior’s call. Friday, September 1, 2006, Myrtle enjoyed a visit from her loving great-niece, Debra. Neither could have known it would be their last but when Debra returned a few hours later with dinner, Myrtle was gone. The apparent heart attack that claimed her life, was surely a shock, yet so like Myrtle. She was a woman who lived life with a sure and certain faith and an equally certain conviction about the matters of here and now; the hereafter and forever. BORN / EARLY YEARSShe was born May 17, 1920 in Chicago, IL, the daughter of Werner and Emilia Anna (Franzen) Valentine. Baptized and raised in the covenant church, Myrtle’s faith was truly the foundation of her life. EDUCATION 4 college.Myrtle attended Calumet High School, Chicago, where she was not only an excellent student but an athlete as well. She was a member of the National Honor Society, competed in several sports and was captain of the volleyball team. Graduating with the class of 1937, she set her sites on a job at Central Steel & Wire, Chicago. As she would later tell the story, Myrtle got her foot in the door by volunteering to answer the phones for free! She did just that for an entire year and in the process, so impressed the company president that he not only gave her a job, but paid her way to Northwestern University to study business. It was an excellent investment. In Myrtle, he found someone of sterling integrity and a tireless work ethic. As an employee and eventually, as personal secretary to the president, Myrtle worked for Central Steel for over forty years. She would handle everything from rationing gas cards to company salesmen to collecting debts on company accounts. Both friend and foe would find Myrtle fair but ever faithful to the company as she worked her way up through the ranks. She may have been a "work-a-holic" but Myrtle was generous with the rewards of her success. She loved to shop, but not just for herself. Myrtle was the "shop and share" angel. When she spotted a bargain she bought a bunch and gave them away. Her spare bedroom became the "gift room" from which Myrtle spread the spirit of Christmas, twelve months a year. Myrtle also loved to travel and through the years enjoyed trips to Europe as well as the Soviet Union and even Haiti. She was a "keeper of friends" far and wide and corresponded the old fashioned way with cards and letters that remembered birthdays, holidays and just plain special days between friends. Often those cards and letters would contain one of her "bargains", tucked between the pages. Myrtle was also faithful to her church, Trinity Lutheran in Oak Lawn, where she worshipped for many years and from whom she received regular communion long after she had moved to the Fox Valley. With no children of her own, Myrtle was free to be someone extra special to those close to her. As the "live-in" sitter at times, she bonded especially with her great, great nephew to whom she was fond of imparting words of wisdom like, "Don’t let people rent space in your head" and, "get a good education!" She loved music, from classical to country, and, in a very special way, Myrtle was equally broad minded when it came to people. She had a way of taking everyone at face value until or unless their behavior betrayed them. A rare blend of "tough cookie" and "old sweetie", Myrtle was good judge of character and a good friend of those in whom she found it. SURVIVORS She is survived by:One sister, Elsie Jacobson of Alsip, IL;Two nephews:Dennis (Jane) Jacobson of St. Charles, ILJohn (Carol) Jacobson of Orland Park, ILOne great niece:Debra (Ken) Snow of rural St. Charles, ILAnd their son, Jake Snow;Two great nephews:Joe Jacobson andTony (Carrie) Jacobson, both of Midlothian, ILPRECEDED She joins now her parents, her former husband, as well as many dear friends, who preceded her in death. MEMORIALSA memorial has been established in Myrtle’s name to benefit Osteoporosis and Lymphedema research and charities close to Myrtle’s heart. Memorials checks may be made to the Myrtle Gwaltney Memorial and mailed in care of P.O. Box 66, Elburn, IL 60119. Tributes and memories may also be forwarded to the family at the same address or through her obituary at

MEMORIAL VISITATION A memorial visitation will be held to celebrate her life, Tuesday, September 12, 2006 from 5-8pm at Conley Funeral Home, 116 W. Pierce St., Elburn, IL. For information, call 800-8-CONLEY or visit

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