Ottilie M. "Tilli" Schulze

April 17, 1934 - November 1, 2017

Ottilie M.


Ottilie, or Tilli, as she was known by many, passed away peacefully at home surrounded by family November 1, 2017. Tilli was born in Mecklenburg, Germany to Regina Schneider Horn and Heinrich Horn April 17, 1934. She grew up on a farm in Döelitz, Germany, along with brothers Helmut, Hugo and Heinz, and sister Paula. When she was younger she enjoyed reading books and loved taking the horses to the pond and riding them in to wash them off. Growing up during World War II, much of her childhood was not pleasant. She escaped from East Germany at age 16 and left West Germany

in 1952. On the trip to the United States, she met Herbert Schulze on the ship Italia. They exchanged addresses because Herbert had a camera and Tilli wanted some of the photos he took on the trip to send home to her mother. Herbert agreed to send Tilli photos, but only if she sent him letters. Tilli first landed in New York City, and then continued to Chicago to live with her Tante Bertha Schneider. Tilli worked at Muntz TV before getting a job at the A.C. Nielsen Company, all while taking English lessons at night at the local high school. Herbert was in Pennsylvania and later Milwaukee, Wisconsin and would come to visit Tilli in Chicago, eventually moving to Chicago for a job at Hanger Prosthetics.

On May 1, 1954, Tilli and Herbert married in Chicago at Bethlehem Evangelical Church, and soon after Herbert was drafted into the U.S. Army. After training, he was stationed at Fitzsimmons Army Hospital in Denver, Colorado. Tilli left her job at A.C. Nielsen and joined Herbert. She worked in Denver until shortly before Herbert was discharged, and A. C. Nielsen wanted her to return, so she headed back to Chicago in 1957. They welcomed their daughter Barbara in 1958, and moved to Rockford, Illinois in 1961. They started the business Northern Prosthetics and Orthopedic on Charles Street in Rockford that same year. Tilli handled the financial books for the business. They welcomed son Erich in 1962, and moved to Belvidere, Illinois in 1969. Besides working on the books, Tilli also did prosthetic fittings for women who had undergone mastectomy surgeries.

Tilli spent her time working at the business and raising her two children. When she became an Omi she spent as much time as possible with her grandchildren and went on many adventures with them all. Time at Omi and Opi’s house is remembered with great love by all of their grandchildren.

After the wall came down in Germany, she returned to former East Germany in the early 1990s and took with a tape recorder and documented her thoughts and memories. From that, she began working on a reflection of her younger life, which was first published in 2004 and is titled Tilli’s Story: My Thoughts are Free. She left these collected memories as a gift for not only her family, but for anyone who reads it. It has since been translated into 3 languages.

Tilli and Herbert loved to travel, and spent much time either visiting family in Germany or exploring different parts of the world. Family was the most important thing to Tilli, and she loved bringing everyone together for holidays. Tilli was devoted to her family and friends and was incredibly proud of her children and grandchildren.

Predeceased by her parents, sister Paula, brothers Heinz & Helmut, and son-in-law Craig Gorham.
Survived by husband Herbert Schulze, brother Hugo (Annie) Horn, children Barbara Gorham, Erich (Pam) Schulze and grandchildren Regina Gorham, Kirsten (Taylor) Gyorkos, and Monika Gorham.

A funeral service will be held at 11:00 a.m., Wednesday, November 8, 2017 at Anderson Funeral and Cremation Services, 218 W. Hurlbut Ave, Belvidere IL, 61008 with Rev. Scott Stolberg officiating. A visitation will be held from 4-7 p.m., on Tuesday, November 7, 2017 at the funeral home. Burial in Belvidere Cemetery. Memorials may go the National Kidney Association. To light a candle or share a condolence, please visit

Service Schedule

Tuesday, November 7, 2017
4:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Anderson Funeral and Cremation Services

218 West Hurlbut Ave
Belvidere, IL 61008


A visitation will be held from 4-7 p.m., on Tuesday, November 7, 2017 at the funeral home

Wednesday, November 8, 2017
11:00 am

Anderson Funeral and Cremation Services

218 West Hurlbut Ave
Belvidere, IL 61008


A funeral service will be held at 11:00 a.m., Wednesday, November 8, 2017 at Anderson Funeral and Cremation Services, 218 W. Hurlbut Ave, Belvidere IL, 61008 with Rev. Scott Stolberg officiating

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Belvidere Cemetery

Burial in Belvidere Cemetery

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What a wonderful woman and blessing to us all. She will never be forgotten.

Kim Washburn 2017-11-06T16:28:15

My sincere sympathy to the Schulze family. Barbara Schulze Gorham has been a dear friend of mine since high school, and I have fond memories of time spent in the Schulze home. Tilli was always warm and welcoming. My thoughts and prayers are with your family.

Linda Dwan GiConte 2017-11-06T02:35:18

The most beautiful video keepsake I have ever seen!

The video and her beautiful smile reflected who she ALWAYS was: a woman of strength, love and intelligence. An inspiration to anyone who had met her.
We love Tilli, Herbert and their family very much and she has made a big difference in my life,

Barbara (Kim and Anna)
Leavenworth, WA

Barbara Washburn 2017-11-06T01:43:18

Sincere condolences to you, Herb, from me and my mother … Helen J Johnson. Herb, you took care of her and “her leg” for 60+ years! I went with her to the clinic when I was just a girl barely in elementary school, many times over the next years, and again when I moved back here to Rockford in the 2000’s. You were always so kind, and I know that we met Tilli there many times.

My mom has Alzheimer’s now, but I know she would want me to tell you how sorry we are to hear of Tilli’s passing. What a wonderful woman! I know that you and all her family are grieving, and our thoughts and prayers are with you all.

Deborah Jackson 2017-11-05T14:04:57

I will miss my friend dearly, but I will keep her generous smile and spirit with me everyday. So sorry for your loss, Love and prayers, Christina LePart

Christina Lepart 2017-11-04T01:14:03

My prayers are with Herb, Barb & Erich. You all have been wonderful neighbors for many years. I will miss my friend Tilli very much, we had many beautiful times over the more than fifty years as neighbors and friends.

Janet Hyland 2017-11-03T22:16:34

Tilli was such a help to me as I was learning German in High school. She always took time out to
Make sure my pronunciations were correct and that I was practicing enough!
Her laugh was one of a kind!
Prayers for Herb, Barbara and Erich and Grand daughters.

Valerie and John Bush

Valerie. Ush 2017-11-03T16:48:24

Herb and Tillie have been the best of neighbors for many years. From the Advent Calendar they would bring over when the kids were young to the friendly waves in driving by, you couldn’t ask for more. Our thoughts are with Herb and family. Tillie was special.

John Rabideau 2017-11-03T13:52:17


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