Lea Kraus, formerly of Bellingham, passed away on the morning of Tuesday, March 13, 2012, at the Scott & White Hospital in Round Rock, Texas. She was 75 years old. Her vibrant energy, passion and love were evident to all who knew or met her. She was the beloved wife of S. Peter Kraus; the dear mother of Liora (Kraus) Stone and her husband, Peter, and their children, Sarah and Jeffrey Stone, Eliyahu Kraus and his wife, Iris, and their children, Ariel and Oren Kraus, Dan Kraus and his wife, Rochelle, and their children, Noah and Kira Kraus. Lea was born in Bucharest, Romania, and lived there through both the Nazi and Russian occupations. Her father, Rabbi Yesheyahu Barkay, was an assistant to the Chief Rabbi of Romania. She moved to Israel in 1950. While in Israel, she finished high school and teacher's college, volunteered working with blind children as well as polio victims, and spent her national service work teaching new immigrant children Hebrew. Lea moved to England for a few years and met her husband of 50 years, Peter, there. They married in Paris and moved back to Israel to start a family. Her first two children, Liora and Eli, were born in Israel. They moved to the United States in 1966, and had their third child, Dan, while living in Bellingham. A resident of Bellingham for 34 years, Lea lived a very full life in Massachusetts. Over the years, she sold makeup, started and co-ran an interior decorating business, and taught Hebrew school. She was very involved in civic life as well. She acted as the campaign chairperson in several local political elections, helped start a youth soccer league, was a trustee of the Bellingham Public Library, and led a committee to establish a new fire and police station in the town of Bellingham. Most prominently though, for many years, Lea was a passionate advocate and leader for Hadassah, a Zionist Jewish womens charity organization. When Lea and Peter finally retired eight years ago to Sun City Texas in Georgetown, Texas, Lea picked up right where she left off in Massachusetts. She founded the local Hadassah Chapter which is now flourishing. She became an active member of the local Chavurah (Jewish religious group). She was a prominent contributor to the ceramics and china painting groups and taught Hebrew to several groups in Sun City. She even found time to tutor several local children in preparation for their Bar and Bat-Mitzvahs. Lea viewed her greatest triumph as the success and happiness of her three children and six grandchildren. She will be dearly missed by all who knew her. Graveside services took place in the Beth Israel section of Capital Memorial Park in Pflugerville, Texas. Donations in Leas memory may be made to Hadassah (www. hadassah.org) .
Published in MetroWest Daily News on March 18, 2012