Clara Marie (Spohn) Steffgen
1898 — 1966
Clara Steffgen Former Genevan Dies In Oregon
Clara M. Steffgen, former Fillmore county resident, passed away at the General Hospital in Albany, Ore., July 21, 1966, at the age of 68. She became ill shortly after arising the day before and entered the hospital. Next day she suffered a heart attack that proved fatal. She had been the housekeeper for St. Mary's Catholic church rectory in Albany the past 14 years.
Clara Marie Braden 1 [sic] was born at Utica, Neb., May 7, 1898. The family moved to Fillmore county in her youth and she received her education in the schools in this county. She was married to Henry Steffgen at Grafton June 20, 1919 [sic], by Rev. B. Sproll. 2 She resided near Grafton and in Geneva until she moved to Albany, Ore., in 1936. She was a member of the Catholic Daughters of America and had taken part in many church activities since living there.
Survivors include one daughter, Mrs. W. E. Fiegenbaum of Albany; 3 three sons, Michael of Salem, Ore., Paul of Waukegan, Ill., and Lawrence of Erling, Cal.; three sisters, Mrs. H. H. O'Donnell of Omaha, Neb., Mrs. Frank Collicotte of Grand Junction, Col., and Mrs. Larry Ayres of Albany; two half-brothers, John Spohn and Bill Spohn of Antioch, Cal., and 11 grandchildren.
Requiem Mass was celebrated Saturday at 10 a.m. at St. Mary's church in Albany, Father Martin W. Doherty officiating. Interment was in Willamette Memorial park.
Mrs. Steffgen's sister Josie, Mrs. Collicotte, had been visiting in Albany on a vacation trip and the two had had a good visit. The son Lawrence came from Erling, Cal., for the service, bringing Susan Fiegenbaum, who had been visiting there. 4
Source: The Nebraska Signal, of Geneva, Fillmore County, Nebraska; 28 July 1966. This transcription and citation was provided by Jane Michel.
It would appear that the editor of the newspaper got his facts a little confused at this point. "Braden" was the maiden name of Clara Marie's mother, Mary. Mary A. Braden married Philip Spohn on 5 October 1896 at Utica, Steward County, Nebraska. Clara Marie "Spohn" was the first of four children born to Mary A. (Braden) and Philip Spohn.
The correct year of marriage is most likely 1916. According to a copy of the Fillmore County, Nebraska marriage record, Henry W. Steffgen applied for his marriage license in June 1916, and the certificate of marriage, signed by Rev. B. Sproll, is also dated June 1916. The same year appears in the Report of Marriage completed by Fillmore County Judge W. R. Fulton. However, when Judge Fulton dated the Marriage License, he used the year 1919.
The county marriage record contains many internal contradictions. According to this document, the marriage happened on both the 19th and 20th of June. Also, there are two locations reported - Grafton, Nebraska and Geneva, Nebraska. And Clara's birthplace was recorded as both Geneva and Seward.
"Mrs. W. E. Fiegenbaum" is a referece to Alice Louise Steffgen, the youngest of Henry William and Claire Marie (Spohn) Steffgen's four children, born on 22 September 1923 at Geneva, Fillmore County, Nebraska.
On 15 November 1943 at Medford, Jackson County, Oregon, Alice Louise married William Edward Fiegenbaum, II, the son of Wilhelm Edward and Maude Mary (Montgomery) Fiegenbaum.
According to William Edward Fiegenbaum's obituary, the family moved from Medford to Albany, Oregon in 1955.
Lawrence E. Steffgen, born about 1922, was the third of four children born to Claire Marie (Spohn) and Henry William Steffgen
Susan Louise Fiegenbaum was the first of six children born to Alice Louise Steffgen and William Edward Fiegenbaum, II (both mentioned in note 3). Apparently she had been visiting her uncle in Erling, California and accompanied him to Albany, Oregon for the funeral of her grandmother.