Adele Ann Kraus

Adele Kraus, long time resident of Arlington Massachusetts, died of pancreatic cancer on September 1, 2022 at Care Dimensions Hospice in Lincoln Massachusetts. She was 85. In her last days and hours she was surrounded by her loving family and numerous friends. During the many months of struggle against the disease, she remained positive, focused on her blessings, and was grateful to all who helped her. She articulated that she had an interesting and good life, was not afraid to pass, but only sad to leave those she loved, especially sons David and Karl, daughters-in-law Heather and Susan, grandchildren Chloe, Will, Zephan, and Sofiah, and siblings Sandy and Dennis. She frequently celebrated the joy of daily phone calls with sister Sandy and emails with friend Pat.

Adele was born and raised on the family farm in Arlington Kansas. Her parents, Al and Esther Schmidt, were hard-working and community-service minded. Esther loved to host and cook for everyone and anyone. Adele did the same her whole life. A top student and musically inclined she excelled at the Piano, drums and marimba. After attending Hutchinson Junior College where she was co-valedictorian with her soon to be husband, Richard (Dick) Kraus she graduated from Kansas University, focusing on home economics and nutrition.

Adele moved with her husband Dick Kraus to Massachusetts in 1959 when he received a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship to attend graduate school at Harvard University. Adele began her career as a high school teacher. The couple lived in Cambridge for several years, and Taiwan for a year before settling in Arlington Massachusetts until their divorce in 1987.
Adele shifted her focus to history and social studies after participating in protests against the Vietnam War, and her involvement in civil rights, fair housing, and the National Organization of Women (NOW). She taught history and civics at Medford and Brookline High Schools before ending her career as a supervisor of student teachers for numerous Colleges and Universities including her alma mater, Simmons.

A longtime member of Harvard Epworth Methodist Church in Cambridge as well as several years at the Calgary Methodist Church in Arlington, she developed great friendships and immersed herself in service to the community, leading youth groups, participating in the establishment of a food pantry, serving as official and unofficial big sister, giving countless hours of her time. She never waited for others to help. She jumped right in. During the turbulent times of Apartheid in the 1970s, Adele invited Mxolisi Mgojo to live with the family while he attended college, avoiding an unsafe return to South Africa for the young man who soon became like another son and brother to David and Karl.

Politically Adele was omnipresent. Causes and candidates for local, state and national office benefited from her untiring efforts. She was particularly proud of her key role in helping Massachusetts pass the nation’s first universal health care law, the Health Care Reform Act of 2006. She hosted candidate coffees in her home, went door-to-door and made hundreds of thousands of phone calls. She served on Arlington Town Meeting and the Democratic Town Committee, and was a delegate to the Democratic State Convention several times.

Adele continued her musical interests throughout her life. Her Yamaha Baby Grand Piano was her pride and joy and it vibrated beautifully with her near professional concert level piano touch. She was an accompanist, including several years for the MIT Women’s Chorus and performed with many groups through the Winchester Conservatory of Music.

Above all else, she cared for her family, dropping her normal routine at a moment’s notice, to help her children and grandchildren. Her eldest grandchild, Chloe, has become an inspired baker by learning from the woman who was the pie-baking champion of Kansas. Through her retirement, Adele thoroughly enjoyed spending time with her grandchildren, cooking and laughing and planning the most special activities that suited each grandchild’s personality and way. ‘Grandma Adele is coming today’ always made everybody smile. Whether she taught them how to bake, or created a newspaper out of silly stories, putting on plays, or helped them nap when no one else could, Grandma Adele was their inspiration.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday October 8, 2022 at the Calvary Methodist Church in Arlington Mass. at 10 a.m.


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6 Condolences

  1. John and Anne Elder on September 5, 2022 at 5:14 pm

    We especially cherish the memory of our last visit with Adele on Dec. 27, 2019, when her whole family had gathered in her apartment and are glad that we can hold in our minds the picture of that occasion. But, oh my, how many other memories of our political activities in Arlington in the ’60s and ’70s and our many conversations since then about religion, the state of our nation, and, of course, our children and grandchildren. We send our love and big hugs! John and Anne

  2. Lynne Reiss on September 6, 2022 at 5:45 pm

    I met Adele at Harvard Epworth Church a few years ago and immediately identified her as someone I would like to get to know. Her comments were always insightful – and fearless. I learned from her and, although I did not have the pleasure of knowing her well, will miss her significant presence.

  3. Paul Casco on September 7, 2022 at 9:23 am

    Dear David and Karl,
    The Casco Family – Paul, Sheila and Steven – send our deepest sympathy to you and the family on the loss of your dear mother. She was a true friend and neighbor who possessed so many talents that she graciously shared with those of us who were fortunate to know her.
    Dorothea Casco

  4. Laurie Russell on September 9, 2022 at 10:09 am

    The teaching artists and staff of the Winchester Community Music School send our heartfelt condolences to Adele’s family and friends. We have fond memories of Adele performing in our classical chamber music ensembles. She made many musical friends by being a part of our musical community. We are happy to know that music brought her so much joy throughout her entire life. May music bring you comfort and peace in the days ahead.
    With sympathy,
    Laurie Russell, Executive Director

  5. Millie N on September 11, 2022 at 10:41 am

    I am so heartbroken to learn that Adele passed!! i just found out from church service today and am so devastated.
    Adele came into our lives while she was at Calvary in Arlington and helped me out with my 2 kids who were in grade school at the time. we developed a bond and family-like friendship over the years. we got together quite a few times to catch up and it was always a joy when we did. Every so often i would ask the kids if they check in with her and its always a typical adulting response 🙁 I am extremely devastated.

    David, Karl and family,
    i am so sorry for your loss . You had an amazing mother and friend who was so fond of you all especially the grandkids. she is going to be dearly missed. I pray for God’s grace to comfort you in this difficult time.

  6. Mark Selden on March 26, 2024 at 3:50 pm

    Dear David and Karl,

    I new Adele from the time of her arrival with Dick and both of you in (I suppose) 1959 and had many occasions during graduate school years to be together with you … in Cambridge, in Kansas (Kyoko and I stopping by on our way to Mexico in 1963), and later in Boston including in the final years of her rich and full life for her social commitment and activism, her spirit, her music and her cooking. These belated words simply to say that she is deeply missed and especially remembered during my occasional visits to Boston.

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