Born: March 18, 1934 - Deceased: August 20, 2021
Hildegard Bandy, nee , 87, of Belleville, IL, born Sunday, March 18, 1934, in , , died Friday, August 20, 2021 at in Belleville, IL.
Hildegard liked to be called Hildy. Hildy grew up in Cologne, Germany during WW II where 90% of the city was destroyed by bombs. She was an only child to Josef and Maria (Gerke) Mathieu. Josef was a Postmaster for the German Post Office and Maria was a homemaker.
The Allie forces were instructed to not destroy the landmark Cathedral in Cologne, so they avoided bombing it. It is a historic Cathedral known as the Dom(e). It is the home of the casket for the three Wisemen. One day Hildy was visiting one of her friends and her mother called her to come home. Not long after, she arrived home, she learned that her friend’s home was hit by a bomb and her friend and her family were killed. Fortunately for Hildy, she lived near her beloved “Dom(e)”. She was a very lucky person. She later went to school at Notre Dame in Germany. She learned to speak French and English in addition to her native German. Her father was part French so she was proud of her heritage. One of her favorite sayings was in French “Joie de Vivre” which means “Joy of Living” or seize the Day!
After the War, she met a young man, Jonel Orelt who was attending medical school in nearby Bonn, Germany. They fell in love and Jonel left to continue his education in St. Louis in 1953. They stayed in touch and in 1955 she agreed to meet him in St. Louis. Hildy boarded a ship and set sail for two months to come to America. In 1955, she arrived in the U.S. and the two got married. In 1957, their first child, Albert was born and in 1959 along came Rick. Jonel went on to become a Medical Doctor and Hildy stayed home to raise their two boys.
In 1972 tragedy struck. Doc and the boys were very active in sports such as soccer and hockey. Hildy wanted to be a part of it, so she went ice skating with “her boys”. She was just learning how to skate and she fell very hard and broke her neck and was paralyzed. At first the doctors told her that she would never walk again, but Hildy was a very determined person and was determined that she would walk again. Doc reached out to some of his colleagues and they determined that the best place for treatment would be to go see Dr. Rand at UCLA. They were doing techniques that weren’t heard of before. The surgery was a success and after years of physical therapy from Tom English, Hildy was able to walk again.
While Hildy was recovering from her injuries, she began to study Interior Design and she also painted. She was a gifted artist and many of her paintings are still displayed in her home and at her sons’ homes.
Once she became more “mobile”, Hildy would take all of her “boys”, Ara, Dave, Albert, and Rick to the Drive-In, along with the dogs. She would always have to buy hot dogs for everyone in the car, including her dogs. Hildy also like to take her boys to Cardinal games and although she didn’t really like baseball that much, she was just happy to be able to hang out with her boys. Any of the boys that came by the house were always welcome and she treated them like her own.
As the boys grew up and were more independent, Hildy decided to become a Realtor. She was very successful and to the day that she died, many of her former clients stayed in touch with her. She just had that type of charm. They weren’t just clients, they were family.
Hildy was also very fond of wildlife and she began to feed the raccoons that hung out by her house. She had deer, raccoons and birds that she regularly fed.
In 1994, her husband, Dr. Jonel died. In that same year her fond neighbor, Tony Bandy also died. Jim Bandy, Tony’s widower and Hildy decided to go out on a date and they fell in love. Jim and Hildy got married and had 15 wonderful years together until Jim passed away. Jim had two children, Debbie and Brian and she treated them like her own. Hildy loved all her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, and she was very proud of all of them.
Hildy had many great stories to share and she enjoyed talking to her grandkids about her adventures. The grandkids all got tattoos of her favorite saying mentioned earlier.
In closing, she would have liked everyone to remember her with a smile and the expression, “Joe de Vivre” Joy of Living! She sure enjoyed her time!
She was preceded in death by:
- Husband: James H. Bandy
- First husband: Dr. Jonel Orelt
- Father: Josef Mathieu
- Mother: Maria Mathieu
Surviving are her:
- Albert (Dawn) Orelt of Belleville, Il
- Rick Orelt of Ponte Vedra, FL
- Debby Bandy of Tucker, GA
- Brian J. (Amanda) Bandy of Lilburn, GA
- Lindsey (Mike) Whetstone
- Jessica Orelt
- Jon Orelt
- James Bandy
- Chief Warrant Officer -2 Thomas (Christy) Bandy
- Lauren (Austin ) Green
- Emily Bandy
- Gabriel Bandy
- Great grandchildren
- Rylei Whetstone
- Marlee Whetstone
- Aiden Green
- Ashlyn Bandy
- Damien Bandy
- Brooklyn Bandy
Memorials: Memorials may be made to the Stray Rescue or Belleville Area Humane Society
Visitation: Visitation from 11:00 am – 1:00 pm Tuesday, September 14, 2021 at Kurrus Funeral Home in Belleville, IL.
Funeral: Funeral services will be held at 1:00 pm Tuesday, September 14, 2021 at Kurrus Funeral Home, with Father Clyde Grogan officiating Interment will follow at Mount Hope Cemetery, Belleville, IL.