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Englert, Edna Rummelhart, 1902-2005



  • Existence: 1902-2005

Edna Rummelhart was born July 2, 1902 in Iowa City, Iowa. As a young high school student she was asked to play the organ for a 5:00am Christmas mass at St. Wenceslaus Church, a Catholic church founded in 1893 by Iowa City's Czech-Bohemian residents. She kept that position as church organist for sixty-five years, retiring at 81 years of age. In the early years she played for daily Masses during the week and for two Masses on Sundays. In addition, she directed three choirs. For this she was paid $21.00 every three months.

Edna Rummelhart came from Czech and Bohemian heritage. Her grandparents lived in Iowa City's 'Goosetown,' where many Czech and Bohemian people lived and raised geese. Her grandfather Chapek helped build St. Wenceslaus church in 1893. When her mother wanted to attend Kensington Club, she would send Edna and her two sisters to Bubbishkas (the grandparents) in Goosetown. There they would find the grandmother with a few other women sitting at a round table in the kitchen stripping feathers that had been removed from a goose. The feathers were used to create down pillows and feather beds. This was followed by a break where kolaches and coffee were served, giving the women the opportunity to catch up on the latest gossip.

On January 14, 1926 Edna Rummelhart married Phil Englert of an Iowa City family known for its early ice business and the Englert Theater. With a degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Iowa, Phil Englert held various engineering positions in the Iowa City Government. Their first home was a downtown Iowa City apartment across from the Englert Theater. When the theater burned in February 1926, Englert's aunt and uncle moved in with the newlyweds for nine months while the theater was restored. The renovated theater provided a special reward for Edna and Phil Englert; the aunt and uncle's second floor apartment was rebuilt with a special door providing entry to the theater's balcony. They watched many free movies.

Edna and Phil Englert raised a son and a daughter. With the advent of children they moved to University Heights. In addition to Edna Englert's musical career she has been an active volunteer, sharing her musical, cooking and knitting skills with numerous Catholic missions elsewhere and needy organizations in Iowa City. Englert was honored in October 1991 with a papal award: the Cross pro Ecclesia et Pontifice (for Church and Pontiff).

Found in 2 Collections and/or Records:

Edna Englert papers

 Collection — Folder: 1
Identifier: IWA0604
Abstract Iowa City native who was the organist at St. Wenceslaus Church for sixty-five years, retiring at the age of 81.

Arrangement One folder, shelved in SCVF.
Dates: 1987-2005

Janie Yates-Glandorf papers

Identifier: IWA0337
Abstract Iowa City high school drama and English teacher.
Dates: 1943-2005