A memorial service for Vera Schrag will be held on Saturday, Aug. 25 at 10 a.m. at the Salem-Zion (North) Mennonite Church of rural Freeman. Vera passed away on July 19 at her residence in Freeman under hospice care.
Our mother, Vera Schrag, was born July 27, 1921, to Ellis Clocksen and Gertrude (Preston) Clocksen in Baker, Mont. Soon after the death of her father at age six, Vera moved with her mother and siblings to Houghton, N.Y., to be close to her mother’s family. Vera’s mother was a pastor and she benefited from the spiritual guidance accepting Christ as her personal savior at a young age. She was gifted with a beautiful voice and musical talent yet her calling was to be a missionary; her musical abilities were a blessing and enjoyed by all the people she met on and off the mission field.
After graduating with a BS degree from Houghton College she moved on to John’s Hopkins University, where she graduated in 1948 with an RN degree in nursing. Six months later she left for India where she worked as a nurse in villages along the Indian Ocean.
In India she met her husband, Erwin, as they provided music for programs during the summer months in the Himalayan Mountains, specifically Woodstock. After getting married in Rochester N.Y., April 7 1956, Vera and Erwin stayed at their farm southwest of Marion, S.D. before heading to Mexico. Her passion for nursing and caring for others was well known among the people in the Old Colony Mennonite and the Mexican Villages. She delivered over 2,000 babies and served coffee and cookies to the many women who came just to talk. During their 18 years in Mexico, four children were born into the home. Vera and Erwin were a strong team and worked side by side during their lifetime together.
In 1975 the family moved to Freeman in order to help with the care of Erwin’s parents and they accepted a position as administrators of the Salem Home. Vera’s duties also included being the DON, which made for a busy schedule yet she loved her staff and residents. She retired from the Salem Home when Erwin died in 1999 so as to be home nights with her son Stephen, yet she continued with her other passions such as working with her flowers, volunteering, singing, and attending church and the activities at the Senior Citizen Center.
She died peacefully at home on July 19, 2018, just eight days before her 97th birthday.
She leaves to mourn her four children: Ruth and children Alexandra (Alasdair) Selmes and James; Stephen; Anne (Jorge) Sanchez and children, Mariana, Elizabeth, Jorge D. and Steve; and her son David.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Erwin; her sister Marjorie and husband Bill; brother Paul and wife Bonnie; brother-in-law Harley; sister-in-law Evelyn and husband Edgar Miller; her son-in-law Ken Gilbert; and nephews Norman Schrag and Edward Clocksin.
Vera’s family will always be grateful to her for her positive outlook on life, practicing her faith and beliefs, her sense of adventure and learning, and the beauty she loved and shared with everyone around her.