Ethel Leona McDonald Schraad
Ethel Leona McDonald Schraad, 85, of Edmond, passed away peacefully on March 22, 2020 after a lengthy illness surrounded by her loving family. Given the worldwide COVID-19 virus pandemic, her immediate family will hold a private service, and then a larger gathering for friends and family will be held at a future date.
Ethel loved to laugh and playfully wielded a sly sense of humor. She possessed a sharp intellect and relished reading and learning. All plants flourished under the care of her remarkable green thumb. She was an expert seamstress and created amazing designs for her daughters and grandchildren ranging from prom dresses and doll clothes to bridesmaid gowns and everyday outfits. No matter how busy she was, she made sure her family had a home cooked dinner together every night. Her dedication to improving her community was demonstrated through her involvement with the League of Women Voters, the Deer Creek Schools Foundation, Habitat for Humanity, and many other charitable causes. Ethel taught Sunday School and confirmation classes, sponsored candidates, enjoyed Bible Study classes, and served on numerous committees at St. John the Baptist and St. Monica Catholic parishes. She valued the simple and meaningful things in life and will be sorely missed by her family and friends.
Ethel was a daughter of the prairie and the proud descendent of South Dakota homesteaders. She was born October 1, 1934, to Miriam Tremblay McDonald and Joseph H. McDonald in Woonsocket, South Dakota. As the eldest of eleven children, Ethel took on numerous responsibilities from an early age. She and her siblings had many formative adventures and created wonderful memories in Split Rock Park, Devils Gulch, and The Palisades while growing up in Garretson, South Dakota.
In all aspects of her life she was motivated by high standards and her dedication to excellence. She excelled as a student in high school, made top grades at the Presentation School of Nursing, and earned the highest score on the South Dakota nursing State Board exam the year she graduated. When her children became young adults, she returned to college at Central State University to earn a B.S. in Accounting.
Ethel began her nursing career in St. Paul, Minnesota, where she met William (Bill) Theodore Schraad at a dance. Bill was introducing Ethel as “the woman I’m going to marry” within weeks, even before discussing that possibility with her. They married on November 22, 1958, and they remained true partners in life and sweethearts for over 61 years. After they set up household in Owatonna, Ethel became an obstetrics nurse at Owatonna City Hospital and was quickly promoted to Director of Nurses. Following a move to Oklahoma, Bill founded Schraad & Associates food brokerage company. Ethel was a vital partner in its success and along with providing wise counsel, was the accountant for the business.
She and Bill cultivated a group of close friends and enjoyed spending time with them at dinner parties, bridge club, and vacations. Ethel valued these lifelong friendships, and they brought much laughter and joy into her life.
As a beloved and dedicated mother, Ethel instilled her own high standards in her five children. She encouraged and was very involved in their many school activities and personal interests. Ethel ran a tight ship, and her love of order and efficiency proved itself in her schedules, chore charts, and endless “to do” lists. Her holiday celebrations, decorations, and made from scratch cookies, pies, and breads created memorable and cherished traditions which have been passed down to her children and grandchildren.
One of the joys of Ethel’s life was traveling and exploring the world. Her love of travel began with a horizon-expanding journey as a teenager to California with her father. She organized many unforgettable road trips for the family – which included stops at all historical markers along the way where she read each word out loud to her kids. Her last road trip was with Bill to re-visit Spearfish Canyon in the Black Hills, where they had honeymooned. She and Bill also visited locations around the world, including Europe, North America, Central America, and Africa.
Ethel leaves a powerful legacy of instilling in her children and grandchildren a love of reading, music, knowing how to use your hands to make things, gardening, needlework, travel, and adventure. She demonstrated the importance of being grateful for the advantages possessed and of volunteering to share those blessings and improve the lives of others. She showed her children the satisfaction to be gained by hard work and perseverance. They are grateful for all she did to help make them strong, confident and independent adults.
When Irish eyes are smiling Sure, ’tis like the morn in Spring In the lilt of Irish laughter You can hear the angels sing When Irish hearts are happy All the world seems bright and gay And when Irish eyes are smiling Sure, they steal your heart away
Ethel is survived by her husband of 61 years, William Theodore Schraad, and her children Patricia Lee, Nancy Schraad, Mary Beth Schraad (Dennis Roy), William Schraad Jr. (Elizabeth), and Jacqui Schraad; her grandchildren Katherine Lee, Steven Lee (Haley), Kristin Nicole Jevsevar (Matthew), Philip Holsted, Erin Holsted, Christopher Roy, Gillian Roy, Garrett Schraad, and Hayden Schraad; great-granddaughter Laurel Lee; her sisters Kay McDonald, Sheila Wolles (Walter), Pat McDonald (Bud Dickerson), and Jeanne McDonald (Kim Nagel); her brothers John McDonald (Polly), Bruce McDonald, and Ron McDonald. She was preceded in death by her parents and her brothers Dean, Phillip, and Gary.
In lieu of flowers, contributions to Alzheimer’s Association in memory of Ethel Schraad would be appreciated.