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Lella Len  Nitschke

Obituary for Lella Len Nitschke

September 26, 1918 - August 10, 2018
Boerne, Texas | Age 99


Lella Len Mewhinney Nitschke lived her 99 years with style and grace.

Len died Friday, August 10, 2018. She was born September 26, 1918, the seventh child of Luella and Leonard Mewhinney, in Holland, Texas. This small farming community, east of Salado, cultivated a lifelong bond with the land, whether it be a farm in Bell County, a fishing cabin at Lake Buchanan or a horse ranch in Kendall County.

This community of Holland became the hub of this large Scotch-Irish family, with warm and memorable Christmas celebrations, the fun of searching the garden for Easter eggs, and reunions during the Corn Festival in June. Len's Scotch-Irish heritage was evident in her lovely red hair.

Although a small town, there were plenty of opportunities for participating in academics, debate club and school plays. Nearby Bartlett and Temple offered additional entertainment. Her talent for the piano began at an early age. Her lessons proved to be unnecessary, however, as she could not read music but played strictly by ear. We were fortunate over the years to listen to sentimental 1930's and 1940's selections, as well as more modern songs.

Len continued her education at The University of Texas, and this university experience became a highlight of her life. She was a member of Chi Omega Sorority, a favorite of the Scottish Rite Dormitory, a Good Fellow, and a member of N.U.T.T., an honorary organization for junior and senior women. Two years she was honored as a Bluebonnet Belle. She graduated Magna Cum Laude in 1938 with a degree in education.

Always willing to expand her world, following graduation, Len was accepted by the State Department for a position in La Paz, Bolivia. Unrest in the area, however, prevented her from accepting.

Moving to San Antonio to pursue her career opportunities, Len attended Draughan's Business School. She began working for the FBI in 1942, as a secretary and later became a member of the FBI Auxiliary for many years. During this time, she met Captain Richard Nitschke, M.D., from Rye, New York who was attending flight surgeon school at Randolph Air Force Base. Due to his imminent orders, they married at St. Paul's Episcopal Church on October 23, 1942. This was followed by four years with the Army Air Corps in Lubbock, Texas, where their first child, Lella Sue, was born. Dick was then assigned to The Pacific, 30th Bomb Group 5th Fighter Squadron and was stationed in Hawaii.

After the war, they made San Antonio their home, with Dick establishing his practice in Internal Medicine and Len becoming active in the community.
Their lives revolved around raising 3 children, Sue, Joan and Richard. Anytime not in school or reading was spent outdoors: feeding birds, swimming, identifying flowers and trees, target shooting, riding, fishing and just enjoying nature. Their beloved Remuda Ranch in Kendall County was the center of many of these activities and continued to provide these same experiences to the 4th generation. Friends and family were always welcome to enjoy this special place in the hill country. And mention must be made of the annual July celebration with competitive games of croquet!

Len and Dick were long time members of St. Luke's and Christ Episcopal Churches. In addition, Len was a member of The Junior League, Battle of Flowers Association, Timely Topics, Texas Club of Internists Auxiliary and Bexar County Medical Auxiliary. They supported the McNay Art Museum and the Opera Guild. Additionally, they participated in Los Alegredoras and The Reveler's Dance Clubs and were members of The San Antonio Country Club and The Argyle.
They established lifelong friends, and families were raised together. Many will fondly remember the Sunshine Cottages at Port Aransas on Memorial and Labor Day Weekends.

Len expressed her love of color and design through her participation in the Perennial Garden Club, taking water color classes, assembling collages and writing Haiku Japanese Poetry. Her homes reflected her artistic ability and her talent for design, combining modern, antique and oriental styles. Her four great-granddaughters are already reflecting her creative talents.

Len was preceded in death by her husband of 68 years, Richard Nitschke, M.D.; her parents, Luella and LB Mewhinney, and six brothers and sisters. She is survived by daughter, Sue McClane and husband Bob of San Antonio, and their children, Len McClane Brown and Norris Robert McClane; daughter, Joan Nitsschke of Boerne and son Richard Nitschke, Jr. and his two sons, James Patch Nitschke (San Antonio) and Alexander Blake "Sandy" Nitschke (Boerne).
She was fortunate to have years to spend with her own extended family, grand-daughter, Len McClane Brown and husband Boyce, residing in Waco with daughters Lella Sue "Susie" Brown, age 16 and Annah Stanton Brown, 14; grandson, Rob McClane and wife, Nicole and raising their family in San Antonio, Lucia Sheldon, age 9 (now experiencing nature at Camp Mystic) and Sydney, age 6; grandson, James Nitschke and wife, Stephanie are expecting a baby Nitschke in December.

A special nephew, Richard Mewhinney, carries on the family legacy in Holland, Texas; many nieces and nephew reside in Texas, North Carolina, New York, Wisconsin and California.

The family would like to recognize special friends: Maria Sublette, who has contributed 23 years of loyal and caring support to the Nitschke family, Dr. Dina Goytia-Leos, always kind and compassionate with her elderly patient, the wonderful staff at Kendall House, Menger Springs in Boerne (part of Morningside Ministries) and the especially sensitive and kind staff of Alamo Hospice.

MEMORIAL SERVICE, WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 15, 2018 11:00 A.M. CHRIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH, 510 BELKNAP PLACE. The Rev. Patrick Gahan officiating. A private graveside service for the family will be held.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Christ Episcopal Church or the charity of your choice.

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Suggested Memorial Donations

  • Christ Episcopal Church or the charity of your choice.

Arrangements By

Porter Loring Mortuary

1101 McCullough Avenue
San Antonio, TX 78212
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