Jennie Italia Casper, age 98 years formerly of Niles, Michigan died peacefully at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, April 23, 2017 with family gathered at her home in Mishawaka, Indiana following an extended illness.
She was born on March 10, 1919 in Clinton, Indiana to Joseph and Mary (Civilotti) Forte. She attended South Bend, Indiana schools, and has lived in Niles since 1953. As a teen during the depression, she was employed at the former Ball Band plant in Mishawaka, and then on the assembly line of the former Studebaker Automobile plant in South Bend.
Jennie was a member of the Loyal Order of Moose Lodge #599 in Elkhart, Indiana and the M-60 Neighborhood Ladies’ Homemaker Club. Homemaking was her focus, sewing for the family, raising a garden, and – most importantly – baking and cooking all things Italian. She was well-known for her Ciambella coffee cake and her spaghetti sauce, always starting with eight pounds of meat so that she was ready to entertain unexpected guests. She also enjoyed travelling throughout the United States and Mexico, and of course, to Italy.
On March 23, 1940 in South Bend she married Andrew J. Casper with whom she celebrated the remarkable Sixty-second anniversary of their wedding prior to his death on November 10, 2002. She was also preceded in death by their son, William A. Casper who died six months ago on October 21, 2016; and by her siblings, Joseph Forte, Theresa Nyers, John Forte, and Angelo Forte.
She is survived by many nieces, nephews, and cousins, several of whom have provided her care since Bill’s death.
The family is gathering privately to honor her life and share memories. Committal will be at Chapel Hill Memorial Gardens in Osceola, Indiana. Contributions in memory of Jennie may be made to The Center for Hospice and Palliative Care, 111 Sunnybrook Court, South Bend, Indiana 46637. Arrangements were made at the Halbritter-Wickens Funeral Home in Niles.