KRUGER, Edythe Schmidt|
In Puccini's opera Tosca there is a famous aria "Vissi d'arte, vissi d'amore," which means "I lived for art, I lived for love." Edythe Schmidt Kruger lived for the love of her family and the love of her art. She was passionate about her children and passionate about opera, and she devoted her life to giving to both. Although she passed away on February 6, 2014, these gifts remain eternal.
Edythe was born on May 2, 1923, in Yorktown, Texas. While she was still a young girl, her father, Jacob Schmidt, moved the family to Austin, Texas, where he founded the Yaring's Department Stores. Dedicated to operatic singing from an early age, Edythe was graduated from Austin High School and was accepted at the Juilliard School in New York City, where she studied and continued to develop her magnificent soprano voice.
Before leaving for New York City, she had met Aaron Kruger, who had opened the Kruger Jewelry Store at Congress and 8th in 1939. While studying in New York, she was courted by Aaron, who was in love with both Edythe and opera, and who finally convinced the beautiful soprano to marry him at the Jewish Free Synagogue in New York City on November 7, 1943.
Even after their marriage, she carried on her studies until the birth of their first son, James Arthur Kruger, on September 3, 1945. Eleven and a half months later their second son was born, Daniel Yahr Kruger, on August 21, 1946. Twenty-two months later, their third son was born, David Bruce Kruger, on July 3, 1948. They finally had their daughter, Kathryn Kruger Lindauer, on September 2, 1951.
Edythe and Aaron insisted that their children be aware of others who were less fortunate. Her children still remember the day after Halloween every year when they were allowed to select five or six pieces of candy for themselves and then were driven to donate their bags of sweets to an orphanage in north Austin. They also remember packing parcels of food and medicine to send to family friends who lived behind the former Iron Curtain in Hungary. And then there were the University of Texas students who were without family at special times of the year whom Edythe would invite to her house for Thanksgiving and other holidays.
Throughout her motherhood, Edythe continued her opera training and concertizing. She performed with various opera companies throughout the state of Texas and was the featured singer at events like Texas Governer Allan Shiver's Inauguration. She also routinely sang for religious services at her Temple. Motherhood, family, and singing were her greatest loves.
Together, Aaron and Edythe were involved in the development of the Austin Symphony. They were also instrumental in arranging for the first tour of the English National Opera to the United States. In addition, after Aaron's death, Edythe was one of the founders of the Austin Lyric Opera and Austin Musical Theatre Company.
Because of Aaron and Edythe's lifetime examples of contribution to their community, their children continue the Kruger tradition of community service. Their sons-James and David-are the third generation in the family jewelry business. Their other two children-Daniel and Kathryn-are both attorneys.
Edythe is survived by her four children and their spouses-James and Julia Kruger, Dan and Chaddie Kruger, David and Lea Kruger, and Kathy and Bob Lindauer--and by eleven grandchildren: the sons of James Kruger and Marsha Kruger--Matthew and wife Sharon, Adam and wife Heather, and Noah and wife Danielle; the children of Dan and Chaddie Kruger--David Kruger and Sara Kruger Garcia and husband Ryan; the children of David and Lea Kruger--Emily and husband Blaine Kruger, Ethan Kruger, Rachel Kruger and husband Patrick Davis; and the sons of Kathy and Bob Lindauer--Brian Lindauer and wife Elaine Shen, Zachary Lindauer, and Jared and wife Kim Lindauer.
Edythe also had fourteen great-grandchildren: Aaron and Sam Kruger, sons of Matthew Kruger and Penny Kruger; Max and Simone Kruger, children of Adam and Heather Kruger; Nathan and Andrew Kruger, sons of Noah and Danielle Kruger; Besher and Isaac Garcia, sons of Sara and Ryan Garcia; Eli, Owen, and Cash Kruger, sons of Emily and Blaine Kruger; Eitan Lindauer, son of Brian Lindauer and Elaine Shen; and Miles and Ari Lindauer, sons of Jared and Kim Lindauer. Her memory will be forever embraced in the hearts of her family, her friends, and the community she so lovingly served.
Memorial services will be held at 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, February 9th at Congregation Beth Israel, 3901 Shoal Creek Blvd, Austin. Burial will be private.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made either to the Austin Lyric Opera, 3009 Industrial, Suite 100, Austin, Texas 78758, or to the Austin Symphony, 1101 Red River, Austin, Texas 78701.
Obituary and memorial guestbook available online at www.wcfish.com
Published in Austin American-Statesman from Feb. 8 to Feb. 10, 2014