Written by TLU's Office Of Development & Alumni Relations
While growing up in Berlin, Germany, music and theatre were integral to living through challenging times for Ingeborg Janz Yarrito and his family. Born in Berlin in 1925 to Anna Steinweg and William Janz, Ingeborg was the youngest of three children. She and her family endured the mid-to-late years of the Weimar Republic, the Great Depression, and the turmoil of the Nationalist Socialist period which led to WWII and the eventual devastation of the city she called home.
Her parents had moved to the capital city from nearby Angermuende to provide better opportunities for their children. A musical family, her mother’s relatives (Steinweg) included violin makers, vocal and theater performers, and writers. Ingeborg was encouraged to explore her own creative talents through church and school. The family garden was often the place for friends and family to gather for song, accompanied by guitar and accordion.
Ingeborg completed her high school education and earned a business college diploma. She began her professional career as a secretary in a major electronics firm during the WWII years. With bombs falling daily and advancing Russian troops, in 1945 Berlin fell.
Fortunately, she and her family were able to survive in the safety of their home. With the US joint forces occupation of Berlin, Ingeborg’s experience and English language skills led to employment with the military forces engaged with the building of the US Army Command Headquarters and Barracks in the city. It was here she met and fell in love with an American Soldier, Jose Yarrito from McAllen, Texas, and they were eventually married in 1949.
Immigrating to the US later in 1949, Inge became a military wife and mother, raising four children, often on her own as her husband was deployed to the Korean War and other military assignments. For the next 18 years, (prior to Jose's death in 1969), his deployments took the entire family back to Germany and to Washington state, with the home base always in Temple, Texas (where she still resides today). Two of their children, Fernando and Michael, would later attend Texas Lutheran College (TLU) and graduate in 1972 and 1976, respectively.
Inge’s early familiarity with TLU came through her exposure to the institution as the church secretary at First Lutheran Church in Temple, Texas. She later worked at (Baylor) Scott & White Hospital there, retiring not once, but twice, at age 75 in 2010 and at 89 in 2014.
This scholarship was established by her son, Fernando, in celebration of her 95th birthday last January to honor her courage and determination through the years to provide the best she could for her family. This scholarship also recognizes the joy she has added (and continues to add) to the lives of her children and grandchildren, especially through enjoyment of song.
Although neither son chose Fine Arts majors at Texas Lutheran, she encouraged and supported their participation in choral music and theater to enrich their total learning experience. Fernando notes that singing in the choir under the direction of Peter Tkach, and performing on stage under the direction of Louis Bittrich and Carl Jaks, “provided experiences that connected me to Texas Lutheran in a way that remains vital to my relationship with the university to this day. Honoring my mother with this endowment enables me to share her love for music and theater with others now and in perpetuity.”