Clara P. Schmitz, age 84, of Wheaton, died on Sunday, April 9, 2023, at Sanford Medical Center in Fargo, North Dakota.
A funeral service will be held at 1 p.m., Friday, April 14, 2023, at Lind Family Funeral Home in Alexandria with Fr. Jeff Ethen officiating. Music is provided by Gary Gylsen. Interment will take place at a later date at the Oscar Lake Church Cemetery, Farwell.
Visitation is one hour prior to the service at the funeral home.
Clara Pauline was born on September 24, 1938, on the family farm in Eden, South Dakota, to Arnold and Anna Michlitsch. She was the oldest of four children and the only girl. She attended country school until eighth grade, after which she completed high school with a host family in Sisseton, South Dakota. She graduated in 1956 and continued her education, obtaining her teacher's certificate from the University of Minnesota Morris.
Clara married Edward Schmitz and settled in rural Wheaton, where they raised their two children. She taught elementary education in Beardsley before completing her bachelor's degree in education at Bemidji State University. Clara continued teaching, including summer and migrant school, until her retirement in 1998 from Brown's Valley Elementary School.
In 1990, Clara met Joel Holm at a singles dance, and they became inseparable partners. Clara was a talented musician, having learned the guitar from her father, and she formed a country western band called "Country Rose." Joel, an accordion player, accompanied her, and they toured the Midwest together. Clara was also an exceptional promoter, and they even played music during their winters in Texas, performing for crowds of hundreds. When Clara wasn't playing music, she loved crafting, and she was particularly skilled at making something from nothing. She sold her crafts, including repurposed and custom jewelry, at many craft shows, earning the nickname "the Jewelry Lady." Clara and Joel enjoyed hunting for items at garage sales to use in her crafts.
In addition to her love of music and crafting, Clara enjoyed spending time outdoors, visiting the casino, and being with her friends and family.
She is preceded in death by her parents; John Holm; and brothers Calvin and Delroy.
Clara is survived by her spouse of 32 years, Joel Holm; son, Ron (Tiffaney) Schmitz of Lake Park; daughters, Linda Taffe of Ortonville and Jenny Holm of West Fargo, North Dakota; brother, Harry (Sharon) Michlitsch; grandchildren, Tiffiny (Tia) Lopez, Tia (Alex) Dahlen, Jennifer (Cody) Backstrand) and Shawn (Kristine) Taffe; four great-grandchildren; and her furry companion, Gunther.
Serving as casket bearers will be Clara’s grandchildren.