Laura M. Brainard

Born: Fri., Sep. 30, 1927
Died: Thu., Nov. 28, 2019


5:00 PM to 7:00 PM, Wed., Dec. 04, 2019
Location: Peterson-Blick Funeral Home, Inc.

Mass of Christian Burial

10:00 AM Thu., Dec. 05, 2019
Location: Holy Redeemer Roman Catholic Church

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Laura M. Brainard, 92, of Elk Township, Warren County, PA, passed away on Thursday, November 28, 2019, at St. Vincent Hospital, in Erie, PA. Laura was born on September 30, 1927 in Barnes, PA, to the late Frank Barton and Mildred (Knopf) Switzer. Laura was a 1944 graduate of Corry High School. She took a position at Corry-Jamestown at the end of World War II, which required her to leave Hoff Business College six weeks short of graduation. Years later, she became the first teacher’s aide in Warren County, working at Scandia School until it closed in 2000. Laura enjoyed music, computers, reading, crocheting, sitting on her porch, spending time in nature, and helping others learn about their family history, especially in Elk Township and surrounding areas. She was also instrumental in the publication of the book, A History of Elk Township, Warren County, PA. Laura is survived by her daughter, Sister Sherrie L. Brainard, O.S.B. ; her two sisters-in-law, Marian A. Barton and Elaine Roberts; two nephews, Robert Gates and Charles Gates; and many extended family and friends. In addition to her parents, she is preceded in death by her husband, Edwin M. Brainard, whom she married on January 26, 1951 at Scandia Covenant Church; her brother, Lewis Barton; and her maternal grandmother, Ethel E. Tremain. Friends will be received from 5-7 PM on Wednesday, December 4, 2019, at the Peterson-Blick Funeral Home, Inc., 1003 Penna. Ave. E. Warren, PA 16365. A Mass of Christian burial will be conducted at 10 AM on Thursday, December 5, 2019 at Holy Redeemer Church, 11 Russell Street, Warren, PA, with Rev. Stephen Schreiber. It has been requested that memorial contributions be made to the Benedictine Sisters of Cullman, Alabama; Sacred Heart Monastery, 916 Convent Road NE, Cullman, AL 35055.

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Chuck & LouAnn Gadsby
   Posted Mon December 02, 2019
Sherrie -
We are so sorry about your moms passing it is so hard to loose our parents may she be at peace and rejoined with your father. I'm so glad that I was able to see her and you not long ago. Keeping you close at heart we will be thinking of you.
God Bless, Chuck & LouAnn

Allen Bonace
   Posted Mon December 02, 2019
Condolences on the passing of your mother. I have fond memories of time spent with your family. I will have intentions said at our mass at Saint Mary’s Home for her.

Robby Culver
   Posted Mon December 02, 2019
Blessings to you my sweet friend and Sister on the loss of your wonderful mother. Special prayers and hallelujahs being raised from way down here in the south. I know your mom is smiling high on Zion's Hill.
Love You

Kathy and Bob Meley
   Posted Tue December 03, 2019
Please accept our condolences on the passing of your mother. The years have not diminished the good memories of your mother and family. You will be in our thoughts and prayers.

The Meleys

   Posted Tue December 03, 2019
Ah, Sherrie...
I'm glad I got to talk with Laura recently. You are in my heart and prayers.
And I'm only a phone call away.
Love you.

Bob and Debbie Hunter
   Posted Wed December 04, 2019
Dear Sherrie, We are so saddened to hear of your mom’s passing, and know that she and your dad are celebrating her arrival! We are unable to attend both the viewing hours and funeral, but send our deepest sympathy and prayers to you. Know that your mom will remain loved in her students’ and parents’ hearts always.

Paula McKeever
   Posted Thu December 05, 2019
I knew your parents when working as a dental hygienist and always looked forward to their visits!! Such a WONDERFUL couple. Condolences to your family and I’m sure their heavenly reunion is joyful. You were certainly blessed .. prayers sent..
Paula McKeever

Dr. Julie Boozer
   Posted Tue December 10, 2019
The Elk Township Historical Society would like to express our deep appreciation of Laura Brainard's pivotal role in the early work of the Committee to Save Scandia School (1999), which in a few years became ETHS. Because of Laura's long tenure as a teacher's aide and secretary at Scandia School, as well as that of longtime teacher Alice Wall, critically significant items such as photographs and artifacts, not to mention over a century of enrollment records, were remarkably and miraculously saved to eventually become the fantastic and unique Museum collection we have today.
As icing on the cake, Laura and Debbie F. installed their extensive memorabilia from the twelve Elk one-room schools onto the marvelous "flip posters" standing today in the back of the original 1870s one-room school. (There is simply no other school in Warren County ...or perhaps the country, that has such an astonishing resource.)

Laura had a major role in preparing the data for "The History of Elk Township " book (1994), now in its second printing, that ETHS continues to distribute to the public as an educational tool and fund raiser. The extensive data collection was accomplished in the early 1990s by a dozen or so gracious Elk volunteers, including present ETHS members Debbie Fitzsimmons and Debbie Haskins, who devoted many hours gathering land records at the court house, etc. Laura performed the major editorial role. This was an early Elk Township volunteer effort as this occurred years before the school closed and ETHS was born. Many of these early volunteers are, of course, now also gone.

But these fine efforts were not enough for highly motivated Laura and husband Ed, who began to visit over a dozen cemeteries in Elk Township to photograph grave headstones to place in a notebook collection in our Museum. Their extensive photographic collection soon became one of the first in the world to be placed on an International website for genealogists to utilize in their more first!

Another Laura Brainard accomplishment was visiting and photographing foundation remains of early Elk Township homesteads and farms and seeking evidence of graves either by some sort of marker or by divining. Sometimes this took Laura and daughter Sr. Sherrie on perilous and bumpy four-wheeler rides to remote areas of Elk Township down now-abandoned and forgotten trails or roads. This photographic collection also is on display at the ETHS Museum in Scandia.

We will surely miss Laura's presence at Open Houses, when her former students recalled how she taught them how to type "correctly" on a computer keyboard by covering their hands with a tea towel so they visually focused on the screen. These visitors often delighted in sharing incidents of her guidance and influences years before, when they had been enrolled students at Scandia School.

As one looks around at the school and museum, there is actually very little that does not hold Laura's fingerprints. Scandia School and museum is in large part her legacy, which therefore shall not be forgotten!
The sincere condolences of ETHS are extended to Laura's family, the Gates family of Elaine and sons, Bobby and Charley, who attended Scandia School and especially to Laura and Ed's daughter Sr. Sherrie, an illustrious Scandia School graduate, who has gone far to make her own mark in the world. from Julie Boozer, President, ETHS

Robert Mallery
   Posted Sun December 15, 2019
I am sure Laura was welcomed by a throng of angels. She will be missed and fondly remembered by those of us who benefited from her smile, her organization, her care for children, and her long and faithful dedication to Scandia School. Her loving spirit was always evident and was the glue that held everything together at our wonderful school. Her freshly baked bread every Friday was always a delight!! Save us a spot at the table, my friend!

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