Ursula's Story

BROOKSVILLE - On Thursday evening, September 25, 2014, after a courageous battle with long-term illness, Ursula passed peacefully from this earth, surrounded by family and loved ones at a Bangor hospital. Ursula was born on February 2, 1939 in Zürich, Switzerland, to mother Lucie Krapf-Schmidt and father Ernst Krapf.

She grew up and attended school in Meilen, a town outside of Zürich, until 1958 when she left for Biel to study and train as a children's nurse. Despite her reduced mobility after suffering from childhood polio, Ursula had a strong spirit, and at the young age of twenty-two, made an adventurous move to the United States to become an au pair. Ursula's first job was in Gladwyne, PA in the spring of 1962. It was not long after that she met and fell in love with her future husband, Fred, a native of Brooksville who was working for the same family. The two were happily wed in Ursula's hometown of Meilen in April of 1964 before returning to West Brooksville, where they raised their three children and spent the rest of their lives caring for each other and their highly admired, beautiful gardens. Although she left Switzerland and later in life chose to become an American citizen, she always remained proud of her beloved homeland. She continued to speak Swiss German, visited as often as possible, and followed the traditions in which she was raised. Ursula was a devout Christian. She read the bible daily and brought great joy to the congregation she attended regularly. No matter what she was faced with, her steadfast faith helped shape her optimistic, grateful and generous outlook that she radiated every day. Ursula was also instilled with a comprehensive sense of self-sufficiency. With Fred by her side, their tidy and spotless home was surrounded by beautiful and prolific flower and vegetable gardens, fruit trees and bird-feeders. Out of Ursula's kitchen flowed homemade yogurt, bread, jams, and countless other delicious food, of which everyone holds their own favorite recipe. Among her traditions were the baking of her popular Swiss cookies, which during the holidays she would mass produce for her friends and neighbors, taking hours to disperse around town.

Ursula's schooling, her position as an au pair and her dedicated role as a mother and grandmother only begins to describe her tireless commitment of caring for and nurturing children. She has taken in several foster children, looked after numerous local children, and reached so many more through her work as a Sunday school teacher, a library aid, and a reader at the Brooksville Elementary School. Ursula has influenced, if not raised, almost an entire generation of our community on loving lessons of generosity, positivity, and selflessness. Ursula never forgot a birthday or graduation - sending a loving, sticker-adorned note to commemorate the occasion.

Ursula is predeceased by, and finally reunited with, her husband, Fred Dyer. She is survived by sons, Verl Dyer and wife, Ruth, of Virginia, Neil Dyer of Florida; daughter, Christina Leaf and husband, Tom, of Brooksville; beloved grandchildren, Gabriela and Erika Dyer and Savannah Leaf; sisters, Verena Maja Maria of Meilen, Evi Silvia Anne Städeli of Zürich; and brother, Ernst Johannes Rudolph of Meilen.

In keeping with Ursula's wishes, graveside services will be family only. A time of sharing and remembrance will be held this Saturday, October 4th between 2-5 p.m. at the home of her daughter, Christina Leaf, on the Wharf Road in Brooksville. Contributions in Ursula's memory may be made to the Elwin and Everlyn Dyer Scholarship Fund, George Stevens Academy, C/O Development Dept. 22 Union St., Blue Hill, ME 04614 or to the Brooksville Public Library, C/O The Children's Program, PO Box 38, Town House Road, Brooksville, ME 04617. Condolences can be sent to Bragdon Kelley Funeral Homes, INC. P.O. Box 445, 215 Main Street, Ellsworth, ME 04605. www.bragdonkelley.com
Published in Bangor Daily News
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