Elizabeth and her late husband, Richard, had four children. Here she is with two of her daughters. Left to right: Susanna Gotsch, Elizabeth Gotsch and Maria Gotsch.

Longtime Friends of LWR Chair Leaves Legacy of Service

  • Matt Hackworth
  • Oct 19, 2020

One of the things people who knew her are quick to say about Elizabeth Gotsch is that she had strong opinions on two subjects: theology and politics.

“She didn’t hesitate to share her thoughts,” a friend of five decades, Nadine Ilten said. “It made for very good conversation.”

It also made for fuel in her long-standing support of Lutheran World Relief. Gotsch died July 27, leaving a legacy of service and support to neighbors in need, most notably as a long-time president of the board of Friends of Lutheran World Relief (FLWR).

“Her love for people, all kinds,” motivated her, FLWR vice president, Donna Walz said. “She had a real compassion for people in need. She was passionate about helping as much as we can. She just loved to help others.”

FLWR began as a project of the Women’s Auxiliary of the Lutheran Council of Greater Chicago (a pan-Lutheran organization formed in the post-World War II years) to foster inter-Lutheran cooperation and service. The group has grown to include more than 500 congregations in the Chicago area.

“I always looked up to her because she was such a deep thinker,” Walz said. “She read a lot, and with her husband being a pastor I’m sure they had deep conversations.”

Elizabeth and her late husband, Richard, had four children. She had immense love for her family. Gotsch’s sister, Alice Bruening said concern for neighbors in need began in her and her sister’s childhood. Their father had been sent to Canada to work on a farm as a boy, when his family in England fell on hard times.

“We knew that kind of hard existence is in the world,” Bruening said. “We’re very comfortable now and we know what it’s like not to be.”

Gotsch and her sister traveled the world extensively, and she says Gotsch felt it her responsibility to make things better for neighbors in need.

“She saw responsibility every day in the news,” Bruening said. “She was very much up to speed on causes in the world,” Ilten said. “Not just local needs but things happening globally, and she brought those things with us on the Board. She was a very spiritual person. She was a person who would seek out opportunities to help.”

Please join LWR and the Quilt & Kit ministry in honoring the memory of this dear friend and servant.

Matt Hackworth, Oct 19, 2020 email