OBITUARY: Laura Ann (Miller) Schrag

Laura Ann (Miller) Schrag, 89, died April 23, 2021, at Kidron Bethel Healthcare in North Newton. She was born Sept. 20, 1931, in Nappanee, Ind., to Mose I. and Lydia Ann (Burkholder) Miller. She was the oldest of five siblings in her Old Order Amish family. As a child, she attended a one-room school, where she completed an eighth grade education. She loved spending time with her family in the woods. After she completed school, she worked as a mother’s helper in 33 different families over several years, when a new baby was arriving.

She took a trip with friends to the west coast in 1954, stopping in at newly opened Prairie View in Newton to visit friends who were working there, then moved to Kansas to cook at the Unit House for Prairie View staff in February 1955. She later transferred to activities and finally left Prairie View in 1963 when she married Elmer Schrag of Pretty Prairie, on April 13. They joined Bethel College Mennonite Church and bought a farm near Goessel, where Elmer taught school. They had two children, Michelle (1964) and Darin (1969).

Laura Ann was engaged with the farm, parenting, family, church, and community activities. From 1976-79 she worked part-time at the Goessel Co-op Grocery store and then enjoyed 15 rewarding years as the Activities Director at the Bethesda Home in Goessel from 1979-1994. After her retirement, she worked as a volunteer and for a time as a co-manager of the Et Cetera Shop in Newton from 1994-2016. She also volunteered regularly at the Kauffman Museum and the local MCC Center. After her husband Elmer’s death in 2000, Laura Ann moved to Kidron Bethel in North Newton, where she has lived for 20 years.

Laura Ann was a great lover of jokes and laughter, a reader, gardener, Scrabble player, and baker of apple pies. She enjoyed embroidery, knitting and other crafts. She was a born storyteller and loved to share about her experiences growing up in the Amish community. She made others comfortable with her open acceptance and unpretentiousness and was a great appreciator of God’s creation in all its beauty.

Laura Ann is survived by her sisters, Ada Kropf of Maquoketa, Iowa and Sara Gingerich of Mountain View, Ark., her brother, Vernon Miller of Goshen, Ind., her daughter, Michelle Goering of San Diego, three grandchildren– Elyssia Schrag, Miles Goering and Gabriel Goering– and one great-grandson, Grayson Schrag. She is preceded in death by her sister, Esther Yoder (Sugar Creek, Ohio), her son, Darin, and her husband, Elmer.

Graveside committal service will be at 11 a.m., Friday, April 30, at Greenwood Cemetery in Newton with Bethel College Mennonite Church Pastors officiating. Laura’s register book was available 9 a.m.-3 p.m., Wednesday, at Petersen Funeral Home in Newton. There will be a private visitation only.

Memorials in Laura’s memory may be made to Mennonite Central Committee, in care of Petersen Funeral Home.

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