Obituary: Magdalene Emmy Augusta von Zychlin

Feb. 14, 1924 – June 15, 2020

Magdalene Emmy Augusta von Zychlin, 96, of Sister Bay died at Hearthside CBRF. She has long said she looks forward to being reunited with family and friends who have passed away, most especially her own beloved mother.

Magdalene was born in Hamburg, Germany, the daughter of Conrad Dietrich and Karoline Luise (Johanning) Brandt. Magdalene graduated from high school in Hamburg.

She met Paul Kurt Alexander von Zychlin soon after WWII while working with the German Lutheran Church’s Auswanderungsmission, processing emigration requests. Because her paperwork for emigration was processed nearly a year before Paul’s, Magdalene spent a year working as a domestic helper in Moline, Illinois, before Paul’s arrival in the USA.

They were married on Nov. 29, 1952, at First Lutheran Church in Rockford, Illinois, the church that had sponsored Paul to come the United States. Magdalene worked for Amerock, a hardware manufacturing company, in Rockford for a few years before the birth of their three children. Years later, she returned to the workforce at St. Anthony Hospital in Rockford. She began in food service and then worked in the mailroom for a majority of her 20 years at the hospital.

Magdalene and Paul retired to Door County in 1988. Magdalene grew to love all things related to Door County, especially its parks, art exhibits, and concerts. After more than 43 years of marriage, Paul died March 28, 1996.

Magdalene’s faith provided a foundation throughout her life. She worked as a parish assistant while living in Hamburg in her young adulthood. She was a charter member of St. Mark Lutheran Church in Rockford and had a life-long interest in supporting and educating others in the work of Lutheran Immigration Services and Lutheran World Relief.

While living in Door County, Magdalene was an active member of Shepherd of the Bay Lutheran Church in Ellison Bay, taking part in Bible study groups, Women of the ELCA (WELCA), and greatly enjoyed the rich worship life and many concerts there. She was a “reading omnivore.”

After nearly a decade enjoying life and community at Good Samaritan Society–Scandia Village (The Meadows), Magdalene spent the final year of her life at Hearthside Assisted Living in Sister Bay.

Magdalene will be deeply missed by her children, Claus (Susan) von Zychlin of Marco Island, Florida, and Rev. Christa von Zychlin (Rev. Wayne Nieminen, Ph.D.) of Albuquerque, New Mexico; eight grandchildren, Peter (Maggie Hendricks) Gaines, Sarah Gaines, Dr. Kara von Zychlin, Dr. Kirsten von Zychlin, Kurt von Zychlin, Soren Nieminen (Dr. Michelle Akazawa), Torsten Nieminen, and Eric Nieminen; one highly cherished great-granddaughter, Ella Gaines; numerous nieces and nephews; and other relatives in Germany.

She was preceded in death by her parents; husband; daughter, Karin Elizabeth Gaines (2012); three siblings, Lise Brandt, Martin Brandt, and Dieter Brandt; and other relatives. 

 NEW SERVICE ARRANGEMENTS: Magdalene’s life will be honored with a graveside committal service held at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, August 2, 2020 at Little Sister Cemetery, 10511 Pebble Beach Road, Sister Bay, WI 54234. Magdalene will be laid to rest beside her husband, Paul and daughter, Karin.

There will be no memorial service at Shepherd of the Bay Lutheran Church in Ellison Bay.

Those in attendance are to wear face masks and maintain social distancing.

Magdalene will be laid to rest in Little Sister Cemetery beside her husband, Paul and daughter, Karin.

Memorials may be given in her name for Shepherd of the Bay Lutheran Church Global Missions Fund or St. Luke Lutheran Church (Albuquerque) Global Missions Fund.

“Our family would like to express our heartfelt thanks to the Stephen’s Ministry and other friends at Shepherd of the Bay, and to the staff and communities at the Meadows in Scandia Village, to Unity Hospice, and most especially to Martha and Cathy and the amazing staff at Hearthside for the care and love given our “Mutti” and “Omi.”

Casperson Funeral Home and Cremation Services in Sister Bay is assisting the von Zychlin family with arrangements. Expressions of sympathy, memories and photos of Magdalene can be shared with her family through her tribute page at


Shepherd of the Bay Lutheran Church Global Missions Fund
11836 Hwy 42, Ellison Bay, WI 54210

St. Luke Lutheran Church Global Missions Fund
9100 Menaul Boulevard NE, Albuquerque, NM 87112

Related Organizations