Marguerite Stage, 93, of Laurel, died Saturday, Jan. 7, 2023 at Hillcrest Care Center in Laurel.
Memorial services will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, Jan. 13 at the United Presbyterian Church in Laurel with Charity Potter officiating. Burial of her cremated remains will be on July 25, 2023 at the Laurel cemetery. Visitation will be on Friday one hour prior to service time.
Memorials can be sent to the Child Saving Institute, 4545 Dodge Street, Omaha, Neb. 68132.
Arrangements are under the direction of the Wintz Funeral Home in Laurel.
A livestream of the funeral will be available at www.facebook.com/WintzRay/live
Betty Marguerite Stage was born July 25, 1929 in Hartington to Christian Peter and Edna Ollie (Joslin) Andersen. A lifelong devotion to Christ began with her baptism at Trinity Lutheran Church in Hartington. She continued her walk with God through confirmation and the church remained a focal point throughout her life.
Following her time as an elementary student at Cedar County Rural School District 99, Marguerite graduated from Hartington High School in 1946. She went on to earn her teaching certificate from Nebraska State Teachers College in Wayne. With her love of learning, she also attended Greeley State Teachers College in Greeley, Colorado, and South Dakota Teachers College in Spearfish, South Dakota. She often spoke of knowing that she wanted to be a teacher when she was a young girl. To the dismay of her younger siblings, she made them “play school” in the corncrib during the hot Nebraska summers when other students could put lessons behind them. Marguerite loved her time teaching in rural Cedar County schools and elementary school in Laurel. She enjoyed keeping in touch and hearing from her students throughout their lives. An avid reader, she instilled a love of books in all of her children, who went on to grow their own appreciation of education.
Marguerite met Warren Stage when she taught kindergarten in Laurel. They were married June 6, 1954 at Trinity Lutheran Church in Hartington. Together, they lived and raised their family on a farm northwest of Laurel. She had a deep connection to farming and the feel of her hands in dirt. Her flower gardens were a cascade of color from peonies, roses, lilies, and daisies. She spoke of how the sweet smell of lilacs and plum blossoms took her back to her childhood. Marguerite raised a garden every year and could be found in roadside bushes picking chokecherries in the summer to later make jelly. She relished the process of growing, cooking, and canning for family and neighbors.
As an active member of the United Presbyterian Church, Marguerite sang in the choir, taught Sunday school, served as a deacon, an elder, and was President of the United Presbyterian Women. She was also a member of the coordinating team for the women of Homestead Presbytery. Marguerite was a dedicated student of the Bible, and sought opportunities to expand her learnings in faith, share her beliefs, and serve as an example of God. With her ever-present sense of humor, Marguerite volunteered for Clown Ministries, dressing up as “Annabelle” to visit those in need of a smile and hope in hospitals and nursing homes. Many have shared how her example helped strengthen their own faith and service.
She enjoyed working with young people outside of teaching as well. Marguerite was a Den Mother for Cub Scouts, a 4-H Leader, and was a Superintendent at the Cedar County Fair for many years. These were opportunities for Marguerite to share the simple ways in which learning could be fun, were ever present, and helped make the community in which she lived richer and more tightly connected.
Marguerite contributed to the Laurel community in many ways. She was one of the editors of the Laurel Centennial book in 1993, was named Citizen of the Year in 1996, and delivered Meals on Wheels well into her 80s. She was a ready volunteer to drive someone to a medical visit or check on a friend in need. She loved history and telling stories as well as the adventure of travel. Some of her highlights included visiting the home where her father grew up in Denmark; seeing the Passion Play in Oberammergau, Germany; visiting other areas of Europe and Thailand; and regular trips across the country to visit her children, extended family, and friends.
Survivors include three sons, Lieutenant Colonel (retired) Randall Stage of San Diego, California; David (former wife Lois) Stage of Elkhorn; Roger (Christina) Stage of Tucson, Arizona; Kathleen Stage of Omaha; and Carla (Ron) Johnson of Parker, Colorado; six grandchildren: Sarah Stage, Michael Stage, Rachel Stage, Melinda Johnson, Abby Johnson, and Nick Johnson; one sister, Nancy Van Surksum of Sioux City, Iowa, nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her husband; her parents; two brothers and one sister.