Gudrun Arning of Wunstorf, Germany passed away Sunday, February 21, 2021 due to complications of cancer. She was a foreign exchange student that attended Springfield High School during the 1971-1972 school year. She was a participant in the Youth For Understanding (YFU) foreign student program and lived with the Bud and Rene Potter family.
Gudrun was a private teacher who worked at the Children’s Village in Bavaria teaching English, French and German spelling and grammar to her students.
She made a number of trips back to Springfield over the years, especially to visit her American mother, Rene Potter. “I had a really good time at the Potters,” she stated in an Advance-Press interview back in 2007. She had also kept in close contact with local school friends and with Marlys Vanderwerf. Gudrun did some babysitting for the Vanderwerf family during her time here.
Gudrun always had fond memories of her school year in Springfield. She was crowned Snow Queen and reigned over Snow Week festivities, participated in speech and drama including three school plays, and enjoyed high school prom and commencement. She was involved in Girl Scouts and enjoyed going to church where she felt very welcomed and accepted.
She was always very impressed with the community. “There was so much friendship everywhere and social life here is so much more than in Wunstorf,” she recalled in the 2007 interview. “The people have a greater interest in each other here.” Marlys Vanderwerf shared, “She said the best years of her life were in Springfield.”
Gudrun was cremated and her burial was Tuesday, March 16 at the Wunstorf cemetery. Due to the coronavirus, only thirty people were allowed to participate in the funeral service.