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Life Story / Obituary
In many ways, Laurena Dreier defined the meaning of devoted wife, dedicated mother and grandmother, sister, and loyal friend. A true blessing, her generous spirit, supportive nature and warmhearted ways was an inspiration and gift to those who loved and cared for her. Laurena was a joy to know and love, and in all ways, she will be deeply missed and fondly remembered.
The Roaring Twenties ushered in an entirely new way of thinking in the U.S. By 1921, jazz was all the rage while Charlie Chaplin starred on the big screen. Prosperity and good fortune created a sense of exhilaration never before seen. Baseball was the favorite sport of all, and the founding of the Chrysler Corporation brought the auto industry to new levels. Yet nestled in the small Michigan community of Wayland, the lives of William and Lillian Mauchmar were forever changed on November 28, 1921 when they welcomed the blessed birth of their little girl, Laurena into their hearts.
The firstborn and oldest child in her family, Laurena was later joined by her younger siblings, Loren, Ethelyn, and William “Bill”. As a child she was close to her brothers and sister, and she remained so throughout her life. Although by all accounts Laurena enjoyed a childhood typical of her generation, the onset of the Great Depression created financial hardship for everyone from coast to coast. Money was scarce, and it was tough for Laurena’s family to make ends meet.
Even so, during her youth, Laurena learned to play the violin and later, the organ. Throughout her life she continued to play the organ and occasionally she had the privilege of playing in her brother’s band. Having grown up in Wayland, Laurena attended the local schools and went on to graduate from Wayland High School. After high school she worked as a dance instructor. Laurena loved to dance and did so over the course of her life, and she was quite talented at it, too. Later she even shared her love for dancing with her daughter.
Love was in the air when Laurena met Oliver Dreier, a young man whose family owned a farm in nearby Plainwell. After dating for a time, Laurena married her one and only love and to their union they welcomed the births of two children into their hearts and home. Son, William “Bill” came along in 1947, and their daughter, Betty completed their family in 1954. As a young couple, Laurena’s husband supported their family when he bought into the Hardings Grocery Store business. Having lived in Plainwell for many years, their family eventually moved to Wayland then Paw Paw to run their store.
While Oliver worked at the store, Laurena remained at home as a homemaker and raised their family. She made a good home for Oliver and the kids, and she kept busy with the kid’s activities, keeping house and decorating their home. With her unending love of music, numerous radios could be found throughout Laurena’s home. The radio was always on playing an assortment of her favorite tunes including the sounds of the big bands and country. An avid lover of felines, there was always a cat or two around their home for Laurena to dote on.
In her free time, Laurena enjoyed playing Bunko with some of her girlfriends. She also did ceramics for many years, not only for the activity but it also gave her a way to enjoy visiting with her sister and cousins. They made ceramics a weekly event which also included a lunch date together. Oliver worked six days a week, and Sunday dinners were always enjoyed together at relative’s houses. Family was always important to Laurena and she especially relished the holidays where together they shared memorable times.
Since Oliver worked so much, family vacations were rare, but in the late 1960s they began going to Naples, Florida to enjoy the sandy beaches and sun. Laurena loved to travel, and following her beloved Oliver’s death in 1973 due to cancer, she began traveling extensively with her mother and later, with her daughter, Betty. These fabulous trips made for treasured times as Laurena took in destinations such as Hawaii and parts of Europe. One trip that stood out for Laurena included a trip to the Upper Peninsula with her mother where she prided herself in driving the car over the Mackinac Bridge.
Laurena loved old movies and musicals on TV. She collected movies and she even had some of her favorite old movies in VCR and DVD format. She remained alert and active until about the age of 90, and for her 90th birthday party she celebrated with her family, even dancing with her brother. It was around this same time when Laurena began residing in an assisted living facility.
Family was the very heart of Laurena Dreier. She counted the day she married her husband and the blessed births of her children as the greatest days of her life, and she would not have wanted it any other way. She leaves much to be remembered and fondly cherished in the hearts of those she leaves behind.
Laurena Dreier, age 94, of Wayland died on Wednesday, March 16, 2016. A graveside services at Hillside Cemetery, Plainwell. Members of Laurena’s family include her daughter, Betty (Art) Huff of Gobles; two grandchildren: Tammy (Ken) Washburn and Nikki (Steve) Sunlin; two great-grandchildren: Brandon and Blaine; two step-grandsons: Dan (Courtney) Huff and Dustin (Colleen) Huff; two step great-grandchildren: Avery and Blake; her sister, Ethelyn McBride, and her brother, Bill Mauchmar, both of Wayland. Laurena was preceded in death by her husband Oliver; her son, Bill; and brother, Loren. Please visit Laurena’s personal memory page at www.lifestorynet.com where you can sign her online guestbook and share a favorite memory of Laurena. Memorial contributions may be made to Wings of Hope Hospice. Laurena’s family is being served by the Life Story Funeral Home-Betzler, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo, MI 49009 (269) 375-2900.