Despite her tiny frame, Ormond Beach's Elsa Wiedemann was larger than life.
Though Elaine Tilton was supposed to be Elsa Wiedemann's caregiver, it was Elsa Wiedemann who took care of her.
One day when she was suffering allergies so bad that she couldn't drive home, Wiedmann made her lay down in the spare bedroom and take a nap.
"She was 100% there," Tilton said. "She did everything herself. I just did her banking and would prepare oatmeal for her."
And when Tilton's 20-year-old daughter, Jaylin, died in a tragic car accident, Tilton put a pink marble heart that Wiedemann had given her in her daughter's hands before she was buried.
"She loved it," Tilton said with tears in her eyes. "She was the sweetest lady."
Memories both funny and sentimental were shared at Wiedemann's funeral, March 18. She died in her beachside home March 7 at the age of 102.
"She was a 'hoot,'" The Casements' Cultural Center Coordinator Siobhan Daly wrote in an email. "She would always have a special message 'word for the day' at the Guild meetings. As she got older and wasn’t able to attend, she would call me and recite to me the message for the group."
"She still went too soon. I thought she would be around for a lot longer."
Mary Juarez, friend of Elsa Wiedemann.
An original Casements Guild member from 1979 and the only "Snow Queen," Wiedemann was also known for her liver pâté, that she would prepare for any special function at the historic house. Daly also recalled that when you asked her age, she’d tell you it was an unlisted number.
"When we got wind that she was reaching 100, actually it was her 99th year, she finally was proud of her age," said Daly. "There’s a brick outside in our courtyard that she purchased that said, 'If it’s good enough for Rockefeller, it’s good enough for me!' She beat Mr. Rockefeller’s goal, to be 100, by just shy of 3 years. She was an inspiration and will truly be missed."
Donating over 5,000 volunteer hours to The Casements, Wiedemann also served many hours at the Ormond Memorial Art Museum and Gardens. She and her late husband, Claus Wiedemann, donated the funds to purchase the bronze plaque dedicated to the Ormond Beach citizens who served in World War II.
Her commitment to volunteering in the community is what earned her own official day. On March 28, 2012, Mayor Ed Kelley claimed the day to be Elsa Wiedemann Day.
Wiedemann's longtime friend, Janet Ivanhoe, remembered how even in her older age, her friend still had a sense of humor.
"One of the last times she saw me, she noticed I had gained weight," Ivanhoe said. "She was 100 years old and started doing squats and telling me how to do it. Telling me to eat my vegetables and my blueberries."
Her son, Bill Wiedemann, described her best in three words.
"My guardian angel," he smiled. "She was an exporter of good cheer."