Cover photo for Lillian Kathryn Schaben's Obituary
Lillian Kathryn Schaben Profile Photo

Lillian Kathryn Schaben

d. July 21, 2011

Lillian Kathryn (Kramer) Schaben, daughter of Frank Joseph and Cecelia (Schechinger) Kramer, was born on December 16, 1923, in Earling. She was baptized and confirmed at St. Peter’s Church in Defiance. She attended St. Paul’s Catholic School in Defiance through the 10th grade. She then helped her family on the farm with farm and housework and caring for siblings of her large family. She later worked outside the home for various families doing housework and child care.

She married Leo Virgil (Jack) Schaben of Earling at St. Peter’s Church in Defiance on Flag Day, June 14, l943. To this union, eight children were born: Dennis, Eugene, Richard, Gary, Lawrence, Linda, Keith and Marla.

Jack and Lillian farmed northwest of Earling. Lillian helped with farm work, raised chickens, sold eggs and cream and always had a huge garden. She made the best bread (even in a wood or cob-burning cook stove) and her ‘flap jacks’ were a favorite when relatives came to visit. Her chocolate chip cookies melted in your mouth and there were rarely any left to put in the cookie jar. They retired from farming and moved to Harlan in 1972.

Lillian always wanted to finish her high school education, so at the age of 45, she worked on her GED. In 1969, the “Schaben girls” graduated: Lillian with her GED, Linda from high school and Marla from the 8th grade.

After the children were grown, Lillian worked as a Nurse’s Aid at the Little Flower Haven in Earling, at the Baptist Memorial Home (now Elm Crest) in Harlan, and at Myrtue Memorial Hospital. She later worked as a seamstress at Harlan Clothing.

Activities for Lillian included travelling, playing cards, embroidery, quilting and crafts. She grew flowers, inside and outside, and was especially proud of her blooming Christmas cactus. Most of all, she loved to visit with her children and their families.

In September of 2004, Lillian entered Elm Crest Assisted Living. She was transferred to the Skilled Care Unit in 2005 after she broke her leg, and she resided there until her death.

Lillian was preceded in death by her husband Jack in 1976, son Gary at birth, grandson Douglas Schaben, son-in-law Merv Jacobsen, her parents Frank and Cecelia Kramer, and siblings: Frank, Raymond, Lawrence, Cecelia, Gerald, James, Dolores, Leona, Anthony, Victor Emil, Norbert, and Patricia.

She is survived by her children: Dennis (Carole), Eugene (Karen), Richard (Joyce), Lawrence, Linda Fahn (Jay), Keith, and Marla Shultz (Mike). Also surviving are 13 grandchildren: Dawn, Dena, Jenny, Eric, Troy, Tracy, Michelle, Travis, Todd, Bonnie, Amy Jo, Steven and Stephanie, and 23 great-grandchildren. Other survivors are her sisters: Irene Friesen, Rita Klocke, Theresa Grote and Mary Heese, sister-in-law, Marlene Kramer, and brother-in-law, Joseph Bissen, many nieces, nephews, and cousins.

Mass of Christian Burial was held on Monday, July 25, 2011, at St. Michael’s Catholic Church in Harlan, Iowa, with Father John Frost celebrating. Kate Kohorst, John Rosman, and Tami Meiners served as musicians. Honorary casket bearers were Dawn Schaben, Dena Appleton, Jennifer Schulz, Tracy Schaefer, Michelle Brezinski, Bonnie Reinig, Amy Jo Jacobsen, and Stephanie Sypher. Active casket bearers were Eric Schaben, Troy Schaben, Travis Schaben, Todd Schaben, Brian Reinig, and Steven Shultz. Burial was in the St. Joseph Catholic Cemetery in Earling, Iowa. The Burmeister-Johannsen Funeral Home in Harlan was in charge of arrangements. Condolences may be left online at

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