Matilda “Carol” Krause
CLARKSVILLE — Matilda “Carol” Krause never stopped striving. An artist and writer, who worked for years as a colormatcher at General Electric Plastics, she always put her family first. As she coped with multiple sclerosis, she remained optimistic.
Mrs. Krause died on Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013, surrounded by her loving family. She was 68.
“She was aggressive but polite in the work environment at G.E.,” said her husband of 31 years, William J. Krause. The family described him as “the love of her life.” Mr. Krause went on, “They helped her through her disease from its onset. She wanted to be involved with her kids all the time.”
“She was the best mother in the whole world,” said her daughter, Catherine Powers. “She was always positive, always patient. That would shine through all her adversity.”
Mrs. Powers has herself recently been diagnosed with M.S. and said she is following her mother’s lead in staying positive as she copes with the disease. “I only hope I will deal as well as she did,” said Mrs. Powers.
“My mom was a person who loved life and cared about people,” said Mrs. Powers. “I often would find myself talking with her and soon I would be pouring my heart out; she had that effect on people. When I would say, ‘Why am I burdening you with my problems?’ she would say, ‘That’s what I live for.’”
The daughter of the late Matilda Kiburz and Theodore Kiburz Sr., Mrs. Krause grew up in Huntersland, a hamlet in Rensselaerville. Her father was a farmer who worked at the Army depot in Voorheesville, and her mother was a homemaker, raising her and her brother, Theodore.
“Mother brought me home to a 14-room house that had previously been a boarding house but, as the family grew, had just enough room for all of us and one or two guests,” Mrs. Krause, who was a community correspondent for The Enterprise, wrote, describing the home she shared with her cousins, their parents, and her grandmother. “We children watched and learned that mothers nurtured all other family members, held everyone together, no matter how serious their injuries, and provided a conduit to a higher power with whom they spoke daily.”
After a horrific fire burned several large barns, her cousins and their families moved off the mountain. “Suddenly, there was no one to play with and Mamma had a lot more work to do,” wrote Mrs. Krause.
“Our family lived on its farm for almost 40 years,” Mrs. Krause wrote in another column. “After we left, the house burned to the ground, taking a fireman with it. No one has rebuilt and lived there since. Mamma would be glad. She felt that there had been Indian wars there and that it was cursed. She was not the only one who felt that way about the farm.”
Mrs. Krause also wrote of her mother that, after years of tending a coal or wood stove, “Having running water and learning to drive a car both sounded increasingly good to her. I guess I learned from her then that we are always in flux; we must evolve to truly live.”
From an early age, Mrs. Krause showed a talent for and love of art. She graduated from Middleburgh High School in 1963 with a Regents diploma in art and went on to study at Cobleskill, where she published her poetry in a college magazine.
Mrs. Krause designed the Middleburgh Telephone Company logo, which is still used today, said her daughter.
In the 1970s, Mrs. Krause started writing for The Enterprise and then stopped when she began working for General Electric in Selkirk; she was at G.E. for 13 years until poor health forced her to quit.
She returned to writing her column in the 1990s and produced hundreds of vignettes of small-town life, centered in the hamlet of Clarksville. “The coffee’s on, just a quick cup,” she wrote in 1997, “but, when I turned around, 20 years have gone by. Some people we loved, who tried to set our feet on the straight and godly path, have left us. Tiny people who never felt sunshine on their faces or wet grass between their toes, too. But then we have gained some people by marriage and birth. The ever-changing family continues; sorrows and joys accompanying the constant flow of change.”
Despite Mrs. Krause’s multiple sclerosis, said her daughter, “She just moved forward.”
“She always kept positive; she’d always bounce back,” said Katie Knowles, who served as a health aid for Mrs. Krause for the past two years. “She always had a big ear-to-ear smile on her face.”
She went on about the Krauses, “They believed in me and gave me my motivation.”
Ms. Knowles said of Mrs. Krause, “She made friends wherever she went. She continued doing her art at the nursing home…You couldn’t tell her to put the paintbrush down. She’d paint with her mouth if she had to.” Mrs. Krause’s art now hangs in the nursing home, Ms. Knowles said.
Mrs. Krause made a friend in the nursing home — “not just an acquaintance, but a ‘best friend,’ a friend with whom she could share the pain of being in a place away from her family and friends,” said her daughter. “She never let her M.S. get the best of her. It made me think of what someone once said to me: ‘I might have M.S. but M.S. doesn’t have me!’ I thought to myself, ‘That's my mom!’”
“You know that story about how God opens a window whenever He closes a door?” Mrs. Krause wrote about being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. “You might say that’s just what happened. When I was in the hospital, I watched Bill Alexander painting in a new style to me, quick and easy. I wound up being the first double certified instructor for Alexander Art.”
“She had a passion for it,” Mrs. Powers said of her mother’s art. “She loved to give art lessons.” She especially enjoyed teaching her grandchildren.
Mrs. Krause also taught Sunday school at the Clarksville Community Church. And her daughter said someone told Mrs. Krause, just recently that her Sunday school lessons made a “big difference in my life.” Mrs. Krause also composed poems, under the pen name Joy Daily, for the church’s monthly bulletin.
She had ridden when she was young and enjoyed painting pictures of horses. She wrote a storybook about a colt with a candy-cane mane and dedicated it to her grandchildren.
She was also fond of her dogs. Mrs. Krause had a black standard-mix poodle, whom she adored. She saved the handkerchiefs the groomer tied around Brutus’s neck and, after the dog died, had a quilt made of them, said Mrs. Powers.
Mrs. Krause wrote in 1997 about the death of her beloved dog Beau, whom she’d had for 13 years. “His coat soaked up buckets of tears,” she wrote, “and he never let slip a secret.” A journey to the vet’s would end his suffering but, Mrs. Krause wrote, “Mine was just beginning. Something seems to be wrong with my computer screen. I can’t see the words very well.”
Writing her columns for The Enterprise “kept her going,” said her daughter. “She loved talking to people, and reaching out. When she couldn’t do it any more, she was sad,” said Mrs. Powers.
Her husband kept her going, too. “She loved my dad. There were like soul mates,” said Mrs. Powers.
“She charged through it,” said Ms. Knowles of how Mrs. Krause treated life with M.S. “She was like that to the very end….She went peacefully with Bill by her side, holding her hand.”
She had entered the hospital for a simple out-patient procedure, her husband said, but ended up in the intensive care unit and never left.
On Tuesday, Aug. 27, in the hospital, the day before she died, Mrs. Krause composed a poem in her head, her husband said. Since she was unable to write, he said, she recited it for her daughter to write down.
“Here is the poem,” Mrs. Powers related, “that she made me write down on the eve of her death”:
They buried the old horse today after a long life of love.
He was no longer young, but old, stubborn
And chances are slim to none he already left town.
“Bill’s birthday was this weekend,” said Ms. Knowles. “Through the struggle of Tuesday night, she wanted a birthday card for him and to have it signed before she went. She was always worried about her sweetie…You could tell by the look in her eyes, she loved him…Her eyes were stellar,” said Ms. Knowles of those wide, blue orbs. “You could tell what she was feeling by looking into her eyes.”
In one of her Enterprise columns, Mrs. Krause described the painstaking work she had put into assembling a book of family history. “As with paintings,” she wrote, “I am never completely satisfied. Perhaps on my tombstone, I’ll have inscribed, ‘This work in progress is finally done.’ But should it be any other way?”
Matilda “Carol” Krause is survived by her husband, William J. Krause, whom she married on Aug. 4, 1983; her brother, Theodore Kiburz Jr., and his wife, Rita, of Virginia; her children, Catherine Powers, and her husband, Robert, of Duanesburg; Kevin Krause and his wife, Stephanie, of Selkirk; Roger Downing-Krause and his wife, Elisa, of North Carolina, and Todd Krause of Selkirk; 11 grandchildren; and two nephews.
Calling hours will be today, Sept. 5, from 4 to 8 p.m., at the Meyers Funeral Home at 741 Delaware Ave. in Delmar. A funeral service will be held Friday, at 10 a.m. at the Clarksville Community Church, 1997 Delaware Turnpike in Clarksville. There will be a reception immediately following the ceremony in the church hall.
Memorial contributions may be made to the National MS Society, Greater New England Chapter
Post Office Box 845945, Boston, MA 02284-5945.
— Melissa Hale-Spencer