The Countess Eveline Wimpffen was born on September 28, 1935 in Budapest, Hungary to Count and Countess János Detre and Zsuzsanna Wimpffen née Surányi de Nagy-Surany. She was the eldest of their three children. Following an idyllic childhood in her country estate of Ercsi, Hungary, the family fled during World War II to live with extended family at Schloss Kainberg near Graz, Austria where Eveline continued her schooling. In the early 1950s the family emigrated to Chicago, where she completed her education.
Initially Eveline Wimpffen embarked upon a path in the travel industry and soon turned to the health care profession. Spanning a career of over 30 years she rose to become a senior administrator at Rush University Medical Center. It was there that her multi-lingual writing and speaking skills as well as her organizational abilities were highly cherished. It was also there that rheumatoid arthritis, diagnosed at an early age, began to take its toll.
While this ailment would go on to wrack her body it never once touched Evelines spirit, soul, or her sheer joie de vivre. Indeed, it would become one of her assets. Professionally, she became a champion of and a consultant for the rights of the disabled. She was a member of Rush’s ADA Task Force and was presented with the Eugene Thonar Award for her work. Eva Wimpffens approach became an inspiration for us all. By any measure, she was stronger than an Olympic athlete, more accomplished than a Nobel winner, more cultured than a Poet Laureate, more elegant than a film star, and more intelligent than any Ph.D.
Eveline had three great loves; her family, animals, and music. After having long been the caregiver to her elders, she then treasured the responsibilities of being the family matriarch. It was a role that would earn her the affectionate nickname of Mon Générale. Eveline Wimpffen doled out equal amounts of sage advice as well as not so subtle admonitions to her siblings and relatives and her counsel was sought by all. Whether it was observing the back yard cardinals with her father, playing with the various family dogs, doting on her own beloved cats, or donating to their benefit, the furry and feathered creatures around us were blessed by her presence.
Eveline Wimpffen was more than conversant in all the fine arts. She was a patron to and a member of all the great Chicago institutions. It was with music that she truly came alive. A long-time subscriber to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Lyric Opera, it was in a soaring Verdi aria, a majestic Mahler symphony, or a peaceful Bartok concerto.