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Dorene Hitzfelder Laas

Dorene Hitzfelder Laas, 89, of Pattison, Texas, passed away March 20, 2019, in Katy.

Dorene was born May 21, 1929, in Spring Branch, Comal County, Texas, the daughter of Herman and Wanda (Pfeuffer) Hitzfelder. She grew up in Spring Branch on the family ranch on the banks of the Guadalupe River. The ranch was started by her great-grandfather Valentin Fuhrmann in 1855. She attended a one room elementary school not far from the ranch. One of her favorite childhood stories revolved around the fact that unlike most of us she always struggled to gain weight. This was particularly true when she was around twelve or so. Comal County of course, was a good solid German community. Given that the family doctor told her parents that the first thing after school she should eat a sandwich and drink half a glass of beer. It didn’t help.

When she started high school in New Braunfels the roads were so bad and town so far from home that she and her older sister Gloria stayed at a boarding house in town during the week. Going home only on the weekends. She graduated from New Braunfels High School in 1946. Dorene furthered her education at Texas Lutheran College (now Texas Lutheran University) in Seguin receiving an Associate’s Degree. She then moved to Southwest Texas State Teachers College (now Texas State University) graduating in 1950. While there she and another female student were the first two women to ever take calculus there. The professor teaching that class was not pleased with that, as he didn’t think women should take calculus. While visiting the campus 2004 when her grandson Jonathan was a freshman at Texas State she was somewhat bemused to find out that the math building was named after that professor.

After graduation Dorene took a job teaching math and sometimes chemistry at Pattison High School. The first year she found interesting teaching students almost her age. During this time she lived across the street from the high school with Miss Willie Pearl Taylor another teacher. Awhile after moving to Pattison she met Weldon Laas and they eloped on June 6, 1954, and were married at Rev. Sadler’s house in Pattison. From then on she lived on the Laas family farm North of Pattison. In addition to taking care of her family she did the accounting for the family farm.

Dorene was very active in the community. In addition to supporting Weldon in many of his community activities. She was a 4-H Leader throughout the 1950s, ‘60s, and ‘70s, serving as a club leader and as Secretary and Treasurer of the Waller County 4-H Adult Leaders Association. In addition the 4-H program they were both active supporters of the Waller County Fair. Her activities included serving as Fair Secretary a number of years. She served as an election judge and clerk in the 70s and 80s, served as Secretary and Treasurer of the Carrington Cemetery Association, and served on several committees at Pattison United Methodist Church. Dorene enjoyed gardening, handwork, reading, and most of all, her grandkids.

When she died she still owned her part of the family ranch in Comal County. She believed in conservation and because of that several years ago she put that property, as well as, much of her land here in Waller in a permanent conservation easement.

She is survived by her son: Harvey Laas and wife, Lynette, of Pattison; grandchildren: Jonathan and Whitney Laas of Austin; brother: Herman Hitzfelder, Jr. and wife, Jimmie, of Mason; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Dorene is preceded in death by her parents and her husband, Weldon Laas and sisters, Irene Hitzfelder, Joyce Hitzfelder, and Gloria Hardy.

Family was present to receive friends from 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM, on Friday, March 22, 2019, at the Pattison United Methodist Church.

Funeral Service was held at 11:00 AM, on Saturday, March 23, 2019, at the Pattison United Methodist Church. Interment followed in the Hempstead City Cemetery.

Pallbearers were Jonathan Laas, Whitney Laas, Wanda Rueffer, Sheryl Fisher, James Hardy, and Leroy Hardy. Honorary pallbearers were Tom Gentry, Larry Jones, David Martin, and Raul Martinez

Memorial contributions may be directed to the: Pattison United Methodist Church, PO Box 67, Pattison, TX 77466; Alzheimer’s Association, https://alzfdn.org/support-us/donate/; or the American Heart Association / American Stroke Association, PO Box 841125, Dallas, TX 75284-1125.

Funeral arrangements were under the direction of the Schmidt Funeral Home, PO Box 248, 819 Waller Avenue, Brookshire, Texas, 77423 -

(281)934-2424

The Times Tribune

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