A third generation Altonian, Mrs. Anschuetz grew up on Bluff Street. She was the daughter of Dr. Mather and Hortense Pfeiffenberger, the granddaughter of three-time Alton mayor Lucas Pfeiffenberger, the mother of seven children and the grandmother of six. Her maternal grandfather Rodgers and Uncle Eben Rodgers established the Alton Brick Company. Before her marriage in 1942 to surgeon Robert R. Anschuetz of the Washington University class of 1942, Ella attended schools as near as the former Irving and Roosevelt schools in Alton and as far away as the University of Heidelberg in Germany. While in Germany, she attended the 1936 Berlin Olympics and saw Adolph Hitler. She graduated from Monticello Seminary, a high school, and in 1934, she graduated as valedictorian of Monticello College, a junior college. Later she earned an undergraduate degree from Wellesley College, class of 1936, and a master's degree from Washington University.
Many Altonians remember Mrs. Anschuetz as a talented harpist. One of the high points of Mrs. Anschuetz's life was her harp study at Michigan's Interlochen Music Camp. She was the oldest of seven children who played together as a family orchestra and even had a composition adapted for them. In addition to playing with the Alton Civic Orchestra, as an active member of First Presbyterian Church of Alton she played the harp at Christmas Eve services for 50 years. "When she served as an elder at First Presbyterian Church," said her daughter Mary Vogt, "Dad fondly referred to Mom as "Elder Eller."
After his Army service in WWII, Ella brought her husband to Bluff Street to raise their six children. In addition to her extraordinary dedication to her family, she was particularly devoted to excellence in classical music and education, as well as serving the Alton community in several leadership positions. Mrs. Anschuetz's involvement in Alton community service spanned more than half a century. She led the Alton Community Service League as well as numerous Cub Scout, Brownie and Girl Scout troops. She also served on the Jenny D. Hayner Library Foundation Board for 40 years and on the United Way, Monticello Foundation and Alton Museum of History and Art Boards.
Ella Pfeiffenberger Anschuetz, 93, died Saturday, June 27, 2009 in Denver, Colorado. A longtime Alton resident and widow of former Alton surgeon Dr. Robert R. Anschuetz, she moved to Denver from Alton in 2002 to be near family.