Born in East Prussia, Germany, Erna survived the bombings of World War II, met a young soldier, fell in love, and married him. Shortly thereafter with her young family, one suitcase, and the clothes on her back, she left her familiar homeland in 1952 to seek a new and better life in America.
Upon arriving in New York and then eventually settling in Riverside, New Jersey, Erna worked various jobs to help support her family. She enjoyed cooking and often would invite her friends over for meals and to sample her dishes. She made a very famous buttercreme cake that is known “far and wide.” She was an excellent seamstress, sewing and crocheting for her family. She also enjoyed her trips to Atlantic City, weekends in Wildwood, and her favorite trip to Hawaii. Erna liked listening to German music and watching German movies. She was a member of the Zion Lutheran Church which she attended regularly for many years. But most of all Erna loved her family and especially her grandchildren. She was known to them and all who knew her by the name Omi.
Erna was predeceased by her beloved husband of more than 50 years, Erhard Steinwender. She leaves behind to cherish her memory 3 children: daughter, Rita Picariello (Louis) of Florence; son, Werner Steinwender (Nancy) of Burlington; and daughter, Janet Bevan (Randy) of Riverside; 7 grandchildren: Karri Brown, Jason Hohenstein (Mandi), Kristi Elliott (Aaron), Kristopher Steinwender (Meghan), Adrienne Browne (Eric), Casey Brennan, and Candice Stephens (Courtney); as well as 8 great-grandchildren: Chase, Eva, Ana, Zachary, Adelaide, Alison, Jordyn, and William. She also has surviving brothers, sisters, and cousins currently living in Germany.
Relatives and friends are invited to attend her funeral celebration at the Zion Lutheran Church, 218 S Fairview St., Riverside, NJ 08075, on Wednesday, June 18, 2014. A viewing will be held from 9:30-10:45 am. The service will follow at 11 am. Interment will be in Lakeview Memorial Park, Cinnaminson, NJ 08077.