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Verda Schrag

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Verda Schrag was born Jan. 4, 1922 to Tom and Lillie (Graber) Preheim on a farm near Marion, S.D. She died peacefully surrounded by family on March 10, 2019 at Oakview Terrace Nursing Home in Freeman, S.D. She was 97 years old.

Verda grew up in the midst of the Great Depression in a rural German-speaking home. She was the second of four children. Early on she was drawn to farming and loved working with her father in the fields. She attended District 92 country school and graduated high school at Freeman Academy.

She married Orlando Schrag on May 7, 1942. Together they ran a farm and raised four sons — Reed, Ricky, John and Mark — just over a mile from where she was born.

Verda was an accomplished farmer and homemaker. She was a skilled quilter who had a hand in making hundreds of quilts over her lifetime. She was also a gifted seamstress and gardener. Verda was a gracious host who knew how to make occasions special. In her spare time, she enjoyed reading, fishing and traveling. She took her sons and their families to Disney World and she enjoyed trips to Australia, Hawaii, Alaska, as well as her ancestral homelands in Germany and Russia. 

Verda and Orlando retired from farming and moved to Freeman in 1978. They were married nearly 45 years until Orlando’s death in 1987.

Verda was baptized and married at Salem Mennonite (South) Church. She then joined Salem-Zion Mennonite (North) Church, where she was an active member for the rest of her life. She was a devout Mennonite who devoted significant time and resources to church causes including Freeman Academy, Freeman Women’s Auxiliary, Swan Lake Christian Camp, Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) and the Et Cetera Shoppe MCC Thrift Store. 

Verda is remembered by her sister, Ruby, and brother-in-law, Don Harkcom; her sister-in-law, Bertha Preheim; her sons and daughters-in-law: Reed and Susan Schrag, John and Sara Schrag, and Barb Schrag; and her former daughter-in-law, Audrey Tieszen. She is also survived by six grandchildren, six great-grandchildren and several nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Orlando; her siblings, Darleen Loprinzi and Robert Preheim, and her sons, Ricky and Mark.

Verda’s remains were cremated and will be interred at Salem-Zion Mennonite Church Cemetery. A memorial service will be held July 14, 2019 at Salem-Zion Mennonite (North) Church. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in her memory to the Salem Mennonite Home Building Project, 106 West 7th Street, Freeman, SD 57029.