By GEORGIA BULLETIN STAFF | Published January 12, 2017
MARIETTA—Olga Woltering, a bedrock member of her parish and the Atlanta Cursillo movement and beloved to her family and many friends, was among five people killed in the shooting at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Florida on Friday, Jan 6.
Mrs. Woltering, 84, was leaving for a cruise with her husband, Ralph, on the occasion of his birthday. He was not physically injured.
Esteban Santiago, a 26-year-old Army veteran, is charged. In addition to the five people who were killed, six were injured.
The Wolterings, who are great-grandparents, have been active members of Transfiguration Church in Marietta for almost 40 years, according to the parish. Her funeral Mass was to be celebrated at Transfiguration Church on Thursday, Jan. 12, at 11 a.m., followed by a reception in Bishop Hall at the church.
“Olga was one of the most joyful, loving, caring and committed people I have ever met,” Father Fernando Molina-Restrepo, Transfiguration pastor, said in a statement.
“This is a horrible tragedy for everyone here at Transfiguration, especially because Olga was so loved. May God give consolation to all of the victims of this tragedy and may God give eternal rest to those who died. Especially to our beloved Olga.”
The parish statement said the couple always sat in the front row at 5 p.m. Mass and had been members since 1978. Mr. Woltering is a member of the Knights of Columbus.
Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory expressed his sorrow and prayers for those who were victims of the violence and those who are caring for them.
“The Wolterings were terrific people that I can recall meeting on several different visits to Transfiguration. Olga will be sorely missed by her family and the family of that parish,” the archbishop said.
“May she and all who lost their lives in this tragedy be with Christ. I also extend the gratitude and respect of the Archdiocese of Atlanta for all those people who are caring for the wounded and comforting those who have been harmed by this awful event,” Archbishop Gregory said.
Shared her faith, lived her faith
Olga met her husband in her native England when he served in the Army there, according to Sister Margaret McAnoy, IHM, spiritual director of the Atlanta Cursillo movement. They have been married for 64 years.
“They were still obviously so much in love. They just demonstrated the sacrament of marriage,” said Sister Margaret.
Sister Margaret met Olga Woltering through Cursillo. She said Woltering would tell stories during the Cursillo weekends that would both entertain the group and be insightful and she had “a wonderful presence.”
“She provided a lot of laughter,” Sister Margaret said.
“When she made the Cursillo, she got involved right away. She would do anything she was asked to do. It’s a great, great loss,” Sister Margaret said.
“I was never around Olga when she was not smiling and joyful. She always had a positive attitude,” said Glenn Zipfel, who serves on the Atlanta Cursillo leadership team.
Father Steve Yander, a spiritual director of Cursillo, said, “I would describe Olga as love. She was just a love, capital letters. She very easily shared her faith and she very clearly lived it. She would probably have sat down with that young man and talked to him. That was the sort of person she was.”
The Woltering family issued a statement and requested privacy “as we mourn her loss and support our father and each other in the coming days.”
“Olga Woltering was a loving wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and good friend to many. She, along with our father Ralph, is the cornerstone of our family, and while she’s absent in our lives now, she remains in our hearts, thoughts, and memories forever.”
“Mom’s heart and soul rested in this church and its spirit-filled community,” the family said of Transfiguration Church.
“She spoke to groups about her personal faith as a testament to the power of God’s love for us. She will be terribly missed by her faith community,” the family statement said,
Sister Margaret said receiving the news of the tragedy was devastating.
“I burst into tears. You couldn’t wrap your head around it,” she said.
The Wolterings had flown to Florida a day early for their cruise because snow was predicted in Atlanta the evening of Jan. 6.
“I don’t know why God called her home at this moment,” Sister Margaret said. “If anybody walked into heaven, she did.”
In addition to her husband, she is survived by her son, Mike Woltering and his wife, Margie, of Waleska; her son, Gary Woltering and his wife, Jodie, of Virginia; her daughter, Debbie Holcombe and her husband, Bruce, of Ball Ground; her son, Tim Woltering and his wife, Sandy, of Woodstock; her sister, Hazel Roosa, of New York; her brother, John Warren, of Ipswich, England; and by many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
The family has named St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital for those wishing to make a donation in her name. Donations can be made online at: http://giftfunds.stjude.org/olgawoltering.