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 Clara Etta <I>Kreischer</I> Lipke

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Clara Etta Kreischer Lipke

  • Birth 9 Jul 1906 Watertown, Jefferson County, New York, USA
  • Death 4 Apr 1980 Lancaster, Los Angeles County, California, USA
  • Burial Newhall, Los Angeles County, California, USA
  • Plot Garden of Whispering Pines, 84-H
  • Memorial ID 34747342

Clara Etta Kreischer was born in her mother's hometown of Watertown, New York on 9 July 1906 to parents Carl and Nellie (Roberts) Kreischer. She was named after her mother's two vivacious sisters living in Watertown, her Aunt Clara LaPatara and her Aunt Etta Danks. She had an older brother, Al, and her younger brother, named Charles Robert ("Bob") would be born in 1911, when the family had moved temporarily to Buffalo, New York. Their father Carl (who had immigrated from Germany to the U.S. as a baby with his parents) worked for the railroads and their mother Nellie was a housewife.

By 1912 the family had moved again, to the area known as Taft Settlement just outside of the village of North Syracuse, New York, to live on the farm owned by Carl's parents, Katherine and Jacob Kreischer. Carl became a farmer, and his family lived in the two-story, brown-shingled farmhouse that was still standing at the corner of Church Street and Kreischer Road in 1967 (it has since been knocked down). Carl's parents lived in a nearby house built by Jacob Kreischer, which is still standing today on Church Street.

The Kreischers made a living raising corn, tobacco, potatoes, tomatoes, peas, beans, carrots, squash, eggs, and all kinds of fruits (apples, cherries, plums, grapes, and strawberries). The work was hard, and the children were expected to do their share. They worked alongside their father and the hired hands, hoeing in the fields, taking care of the stock and horses, harvesting crops, canning preserves. All the farming families of the area would socialize frequently with husking bees, hayrides, sleigh rides, picnics, socials at the churches, and dances at the Taft Settlement Grange. For fun, Clara enjoyed tree-climbing, swimming and wading in the ponds and creeks, winter skating and sliding, hay-jumping, and early Saturday morning trips to the farmers' market downtown (in Syracuse). There were also presentations at the local one-room schoolhouse (Cicero School #9), where Clara showed artistic talent and excelled academically up through the eighth grade, when her formal education ended.

Clara was struck by lightning, or had a near-miss, when she ran toward her farm house's back door as a girl during a thunderstorm and lightning struck the door while she had her hand on the handle. She felt the lightning go through her body and it singed her eyebrows at the time, but apparently there were no other ill effects.

After leaving school, Clara had taken a job as a weekday housekeeper for a well-to-do Jewish lawyer, Samuel Solomon, and his wife, Henrietta, at 942 Euclid Avenue in Syracuse. She cleaned their house, watched their small children, and mended clothes at a salary of $9 a week. She especially loved the children, and fondly remembered the Solomon family's many kindnesses to her.

When Clara was eighteen her father, who had been unwell for many years, was diagnosed with colon cancer. She helped nurse him through his illness to his death at home at the age of 43. He was buried in North Syracuse Cemetery on Christmas Eve, 1925.

As fate had it, the father of a neighborhood farm acquaintance and former schoolmate, Tony Lipke, died soon after Clara's own father died. Tony had had a crush on Clara since their school days. Now the two teenagers grew closer as they turned to each other for companionship and understanding in their mutual loss. On 18 August 1926 Tony and Clara rode to the nearby village of Liverpool and were married at St. Joseph's Catholic Church. They had no honeymoon and started out their married life in a spare room at Nellie's house. They would have three beloved children and celebrate 53 years of marriage together. They would spend most of their lives living in a succession of new houses they built along the east side of present day Church Street, North Syracuse, on former Kreischer farm land, while Tony worked as a machinist downtown at the Crouse-Hinds Company factory.

Clara's life was remarkable for being full of people she cheerfully loved and energetically cared for. She was a lifelong homemaker. Her life was marked by her generosity and concern centered around family, neighbors, and friends. At various times she and Tony, with little enough for themselves and their own kids, opened their home to needy loved ones: Tony's mother, Clara's mother, Tony's orphaned niece, Clara's brother Bob and wife and kids, and friends down on their luck.

The Depression years were the hardest, followed by the rationing and grueling tension of the World War II years. By the time of the relative prosperity of the 1950's they had built a tiny apartment above their garage at 611 Church Street where several sets of relatives lived in turn. In the cellar of the house were shelves filled with jars of Clara's preserves, including delicious jam made from the strawberries she and Tony raised and sold on Church Street. Through three decades and more, Clara was there to do the necessary washing, cooking, canning, sewing, gardening, and give emotional and practical support to loved ones.

At Christmas times Clara always remembered to take small gifts to the poorer families with small children. She knitted and sewed clothing and doll clothes and made pillows and quilts for her children and grandchildren, neighbors and friends. And she made the big family gatherings on Thanksgivings and Christmas Eves at her home a memorable tradition. She had a special feeling for children and was an empathetic, fun-loving, encouraging Mom, Aunt and Grandma, who loved telling family stories and tales from older days. She loved to get down on the floor with the kids and play cards. She taught her grandkids not to cheat at Solitaire because "it takes the fun out of it" and "you're only cheating yourself." Being able to stay at Grandma's House was always a special treat.

In 1947 Clara and Tony started making their beloved annual see-the-USA, Route 66 summer vacation roadtrips to sunny Southern California (inspiring other families members to move West, too). Eventually they bought a home at 4823 Coldbrook Avenue in Lakewood, Orange County, California and fulfilled their dream of moving to warmer climes when they retired there in 1969. After that they made annual summer roadtrip visits back to North Syracuse to maintain ties with East Coast family and friends.

In February 1976 Clara was given the trip of a lifetime when her brother, Al, offered to send her and his wife, Evelyn, to Hawaii for a girls' vacation. They took a cruise ship to Honolulu together, stayed on the 14th floor of the Waikiki Beachcomber Hotel, and then flew home instead of taking the cruise ship because Evelyn had been so seasick on the passage out. At age 69, it was the first and only time Clara ever flew on a plane.

By 1978 Tony and Clara had left Lakewood to move into Leisure Lake Mobile Park in the high desert of North 20th Street West, Lancaster, California. They had two happy years together there until Clara had a heart attack at her home on 20 March 1980. She was recovering at Antelope Valley Medical Center when she had her second, fatal heart attack on Good Friday, 4 April 1980. Her strong and loving heart finally gave out at the age of 73 years.

Her cremated remains were originally buried in a prepaid plot at Forest Lawn Memorial Park, in Cypress, California, near their former Lakewood home. But her ashes were reinterred at Eternal Valley Memorial Park with Tony on September 29, 1993. Their gravemarker reflects what they shared and how they lived: "Together Forever."

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Family Members



Together Forever
Clara Etta

  • Created by: Memories of You
  • Added: 12 Mar 2009
  • Find A Grave Memorial 34747342
  • Memories of You
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Clara Etta Kreischer Lipke (9 Jul 1906–4 Apr 1980), Find A Grave Memorial no. 34747342, citing Eternal Valley Memorial Park, Newhall, Los Angeles County, California, USA ; Maintained by Memories of You (contributor 46983035) .