Laura Ann (Miller) Schrag 89, died April 23, 2021 at Kidron Bethel Healthcare in North Newton, KS. She was born September 20, 1931 in Nappanee, IN, 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, KS 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, KS on April 13. They joined Bethel College Mennonite Church, and bought a farm near Goessel Kansas 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, IA and Sara Gingerich of Mountain View, AR, her brother Vernon Miller of Goshen, IN, 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, OH), her son Darin, and her husband Elmer.
Graveside committal service will be 11:00 a.m., Friday, April 30, 2021 at Greenwood Cemetery in Newton with Bethel College Mennonite Church Pastors officiating. Laura’s register book will be available 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday at Petersen Funeral Home. 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.
What a delightful lady Laura Ann was. I will always remember her laugh after telling a cute story. She was a faithful member of the Sojourner SS class and we all had great times with her. My sympathy to all her family.
We are so grateful for the gift of time, service and laughter that Laura Ann gave to Kauffman Museum. It was a delight to work with her and lots of fun when she joined one of our bus tours. Please accept condolences from the Kauffman Museum staff, board and volunteers.
When I think of Laura Ann, I think of happy words like “jolly” or “a twinkle in the eye” or “a funny story from the lives of Miles and Gabe” or a memory she wanted to share with me. An encounter with Laura Ann always brightened my day. Her family, including Elmer and her daughter Michelle, have been important enrichments to my life.