Elwood Resident: Vera E. Schwarz, age 90 (1966-2013)

Vera E. Schwarz, 90, of Elwood, Nebraska, died Saturday, May 4th, 2013, at Elwood Care Center in Elwood.

Vera Elizabeth Hock was born to Fred and Helena Maria (Baumgartner) Hock in Waterloo, Iowa, on May 14th, 1922. She was baptized at Trinity American Church in Waterloo. When she was a year old Vera’s family moved to a farm northwest of Strawberry Point, Iowa and lived in that area for many years. Vera graduated from Strawberry Point High School in 1939, where she received normal school training in order to obtain her elementary school teaching certificate on her eighteenth birthday. She then taught country schools in the Strawberry Point area for the next 10 years. One of the schools she taught was one her mother attended as a child, near St. Sebald Lutheran church.

Until 1947, Vera was able to teach on a “War Certificate” but that summer she enrolled at Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa in order to renew her regular teaching certificate. There she met a young soon-to-be seminarian from North Dakota, Richard Schwarz. On July 29th, 1951, Vera and Richard Walter Schwarz of Hazen, North Dakota, were married at St. Sebald Lutheran Church by Vera’s brother and spent the next year living in a small trailer at Wartburg Theological seminary in Dubuque, Iowa. While Dick, as Vera called him, finished his final year of seminary, Vera taught at a local rural school. The couple’s first parish was Zion Lutheran Church in Kulm, North Dakota. The family then moved to Parkston, South Dakota, in 1957, where they served for twelve and a half years. A call to St. John’s Lutheran Church moved them to Eustis, Nebraska, for seven years and then they moved to Long Lake, South Dakota. Vera and Richard retired to Elwood, Nebraska, in 1988. Vera and Richard had four children; Jonathan, Kathryn, Joel and Steven.  

Vera was a faithful servant of the Lord in her ministry as a pastor’s wife. She accompanied her husband much of the time on his pastoral calls as well as teaching Sunday School, conducting Bible Studies and ministering to their congregations with a warm and caring personality as well as with her wonderful cooking and baking talents. Vera’s glazed donuts were sinfully delicious and are remembered fondly by all who were able to enjoy them.

Vera’s great sense of humor and enthusiastic laughter will also not soon be forgotten. She loved to make you smile. She was known as the card lady at the Elwood Senior Center where she recycled greeting cards for a number of years. She loved crossword puzzles and word games, but one of her great joys in life was playing UNO with the grandkids…sometimes she even let them win!

Vera is survived by sons: Jonathan (Carolyn) Schwarz of Lincoln, Nebraska; Joel (Maria) Schwarz of Layton, Utah and Steve Schwarz of Arapahoe, Nebraska; daughter, Kathy Gundell of Eustis, Nebraska; eight grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren; Jeremy (Brooke) Schwarz and Gavin of Lincoln, Jennifer (Dayne) Crawford and Brooklyn of Goodyear, Arizona; Amanda (Bryant) Brockmeier and Lane Baxter, Evan, Reid, and Jeannae of Eustis; James (Gwen) Gundell and Turner and Jaxson of Gothenburg, Nebraska; Christopher Schwarz of Sioux Falls, South Dakota; Adam (Jessica) Schwarz and Jaleigh and Reese of Suffolk, Virginia; Danielle Schwarz and fiance’ Scott Woodstock of Logan, Utah and Samuel Schwarz of Layton, Utah; her brother,  Pastor A.L. (Gerda) Hock of Strawberry Point, Iowa; sisters-in-law, Pauline (Melvin) Brinkmeyer of Eureka, South Dakota and Eva (Richard) Newkirk of Gehanna, Ohio; as well as many nieces, nephews, friends and relatives.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Pastor R.W. Schwarz on March 19th, 2013; parents; sister and brother-in-law, Evelyn and Orville Wandersee, and her brother and sister-in-law, Fred and Fern Hock.

Funeral Celebration of Life Service will be held Wednesday, May 8th, 2013, at 10:30 a.m. at St. John’s Lutheran church in Eustis with Pastor Harold Laursen officiating.

Burial will be in the St. John’s Lutheran East Cemetery at Eustis.

Visitation will be held Tuesday, May 7th, 2013, from 5-7 p.m. at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Eustis.

Memorials are suggested to the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America or the American Diabetes Association.

Reynolds-Love Funeral Home in Lexington is in charge of arrangements.

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