October 4, 1917 - August 15, 2014


Mass of Christian Burial will be at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, August 19, 2014 at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in St. Joseph for Laura M. Stommes, age 96. She passed away on Friday, August 15, 2014 at Arlington Place in St. Joseph. Reverend Jerome Tupa, OSB will officiate. Burial will be in the parish cemetery.

Friends may call from 4:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. on Monday and after 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday at the Daniel Funeral Home, St. Joseph. Parish prayers will be at 6:00 p.m. on Monday at the funeral home in St. Joseph.

Laura Stommes was born on October 4, 1917 to Mary and Frank Dullinger in Collegeville, Minnesota. She was the sixth child in a family of six brothers and three sisters. Laura wrote a book of stories of her life called “Aufwiedersehen.” The first part of the book focuses on growing up in the early 1900’s and shows how much life has changed in the last 100 years. The book spans a period of 100 years and recounts her joys of family, nature and life from her birth until her 95th birthday.

She says: “I had the privilege of growing up in a natural, absolutely beautiful area of America. There were natural springs that shot straight into the air and vistas of lakes and ponds, wildflowers, and birds. I also grew up in a creative, talented, musical, fun and supportive, happy family surrounded by love.”

Laura met Bill, her future husband at age 18 when he came to visit the family. Later Bill told her that he knew he was going to marry her when he met her.

Laura and Bill were married on June 13, 1946. It had always been Bill’s dream to own a farm and on June 20, 1950 they purchased a 336 acre farm where they lived and raised their family of six children.

Throughout her life, Laura expressed her creativity through cooking, needlework, sewing clothes and quilts. After she married, she sewed all the clothes for herself and her children. Her children were always well dressed. She also made all the family quilts, embroidered beautiful pillowcases. She did this also for each of her grandchildren reflecting their personality.

She says in her book: “Our family was always working on some project. In addition to picking berries to make jelly, my sons also hunted for fowl and venison and trapped muskrats, fox and mink. They also fished. My sons also built a beautiful cabin by our lake. They planted buttercups which bloomed all over the swamp."

Bill and Laura continued to farm for sixty years. The farm continues to be actively farmed today.

Laura is survived by her daughter Dr. Jane (Thomas) Bryan and her four sons and their families, Robert (Diane) Stommes, Charles (Joyce) Stommes, Richard (Jan) Stommes, and Daniel (Joanne) Stommes, fifteen grandchildren, and eight great grandchildren. Her daughter, Eileen Stommes Sisaye died of lung cancer on July 10, 2006. She is survived by her husband Seleshi and two daughters. Laura saw beauty in nature, in people and everything she did. She created significant beauty and joy in the world through her love for her family and friends, great creativity, the beautiful quilts, needlework and other objects she created and her joy of life. Laura will be deeply missed.

A Special Thank You to the staff at Arlington Place for the care given to Laura during her stay.