View Full Version : At 98, Lillian Goethke keeps her seamstress skills sharp

02-11-2010, 02:22 AM
you ask Lillian Goethke, the fact that she's still taking in alterations and sewing for people at the age of 98 is only slightly more unusual than being a seamstress in the first place.
There aren't too many seamstresses to begin with," Goethke said the day after she turned 98. "No matter what age."

Goethke is one of Elkhart Lake's best-kept secrets: A professional seamstress who has no trouble with the rigors of the job including getting on the floor to eye up hem lengths still driving herself anywhere she wants to go and not behaving the way you might expect a 98-year-old woman to act.

"Well, did you ever hear of a seamstress that's gonna be 98?" said Charlotte Zieve, 83 and one of Goethke's friends and clients. Zieve hosted a birthday party in Goethke's honor on Feb. 3. "She's not just a seamstress, she's an incredibly talented seamstress. She can do anything. She's just sort of a phenomenon."

Goethke started sewing roughly 88 years ago, as a child living with her family about four miles outside Elkhart Lake. As she grew up, she kept sewing, eventually making clothes for her husband, the late Oswald Goethke, and both her sons.

Along the way, she found time to spend 20 years managing the food service program for the Elkhart Lake School District, retiring in 1977, and teaching young 4-H members the finer points of sewing and mending.

"I never really stopped sewing," she said. "I do it for pleasure, really, and to keep busy. I think I have sewed for people from across the United States, Africa, Alaska, just about anyplace. I think it's just a matter of the people themselves passing it on to their relatives, their friends. Somehow they manage to get to my door."

The group of 12 women who gather every year to celebrate Goethke's birthday are all clients of her sewing business. They don't get together socially except for this one day a year, Zieve said.

"We love her so much because she is such a nice lady it's just hard to think of people like that anymore," she said. "She's a very rare person. She is better than I am in many respects."

Birds...The silent killer
02-11-2010, 10:07 AM
Ah the whimsical mind of a SPAMbot. You write so well too! Hold me closer, tiny dancer.