Barbara Johanna Kostrau

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Barbara Johanna Kostrau, 90, formerly of Bagley, died on Thursday, Aug. 31. 


She was born Berlin, Germany on Dec. 8, 1926. Barbara grew up as the eldest of four children in Berlin, Germany, immigrated to the United States in 1958, and became a U.S. citizen in 1965. 


She received her teaching degree in Germany, as well as in Wisconsin, and earned her Master’s Degree at Marquette University in Milwaukee. She worked as a teacher at St. Anthony Elementary School in Menomonee Falls, and then taught German in the Wauwatosa Public School System. After her retirement, she continued teaching for Wauwatosa’s Adult Education Program.


The family had resided in Menomonee Falls for 10 years and in Wauwatosa for 22 years, before moving to Bagley in 1989, after her husband’s retirement. In Bagley, they started raising Scottish Highland Cattle. As of January 2016, she was a resident at Turner Point and Great River Care Center in McGregor, Iowa.


Barbara Kostrau was a strongly religious person. She lived her faith and was always there for her family. She will be remembered for her passion for teaching and for politics, as well as her quick wit, spirit of adventure and tenaciousness that allowed her to so successfully master the many challenges throughout her life. 


It was important for Barbara to “give back,” as she put it, to the country and the communities she had chosen to reside in and called home. She felt that it was natural and went without saying to participate in, support, and be engaged in community and church activities. For many years, she was an active member of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Bloomington and volunteer at Orchard Manor Nursing Home.


She is survived by her daughter, Andrea Geisler, nee Kostrau and husband Guenter of Munich, Germany; her son, Christian Otto Kostrau and partner Michael A. Wernik, of Long Beach, Ind.; her sister Anna-Monika Jackson, nee Tolger, of Novi, Mich.; her sister-in-law Irene Kostrau, of Muskego; cousins; nieces; and nephews in the U.S. and Germany.


In addition to her parents, Walter and Dorothea Tolger, nee Liebig, Barbara was preceded in death by her husband Hans Kostrau; her son Sebastian Kostrau; and her siblings Adelheid and Peter Tolger. 


To honor the request of Barbara Kostrau there will be no visitation. A Memorial Mass will be held at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Bloomington, on Saturday, Oct. 28, at noon, with Father John Meinholz officiating. Private burial services will take place at the Hazelton Cemetery, Wyalusing Township, following the mass. Martin Schwartz Funeral Home & Crematory in Lancaster is serving the family. Online condolences may be left at


In lieu of plants and flowers, memorial contributions are welcome, in Barbara Kostrau’s name, to one of the followingtwo charities: Rev. Emmett Hoffmann Soaring Eagle (an American Indian retirement home) at 922 Wyoming Avenue, P.O. Box 879, Billings, MT 59103 (or; or Christian Appalachian Project (an area of great poverty) at 485 Ponderosa Drive, P.O. Box 1768, Paintsville, KY 41240 (or


The family would like to thank the staff at the Great River Care Center and Turner Point in McGregor, Iowa, for providing excellent care over the last year and a half. Barbara always felt “very well taken care of.” The family is also most appreciative to the hospital and hospice staff, as well as volunteers at Crossing Rivers Health in Prairie du Chien, for the warm and caring support, during her last and final two weeks.


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