Tribute For Carol Krieger, Who Taught Emotionally Impaired Children, Dies at 80

This obituary is part of a series about people who have died in the coronavirus pandemic. Read about others here.

Carol Krieger left college when she was 20, had three children, returned to college and graduate school in her 30s and embarked on a career teaching emotionally impaired children, all while maintaining her own household full of teenagers.

“We were a handful,” her daughter Elaine Dame said.

Ms. Krieger, the daughter of a United Church of Christ minister, could curse like a truck driver, sing like an angel, mentor other teachers and dedicate herself to her work, Ms. Dame said.

She had a high-pitched, cackling laugh that her children made fun of — “and of course that made her laugh more,” Ms. Dame said.

You would not believe how many movies she owned on videocassette.

She died on Memorial Day at M Health Fairview Bethesda Hospital in St. Paul, Minn. She was 80. Her daughter said the cause was the coronavirus.

Ms. Dame, who on several occasions visited her mother’s classrooms at North Lincoln School in St. Joseph, Mich., said the atmosphere could be anarchic because of the severe trauma some of the students had experienced. Her mother thrived in that environment, she said.

“Most people burn out in that profession,” Ms. Dame said, “but she loved it.”

And after she retired at age 63, she missed it desperately.

In her Facebook profile, Ms. Krieger said of her work, “It defined me.”

Carol Laura Uthlaut was born on Oct. 15, 1939, in Freeport, Ill., the oldest of four children of the Rev. Chester Uthlaut and Laura Uthlaut, a librarian and teacher. After marrying and having three children with James Dame, a manager at Whirlpool, she attended Elmhurst College in Illinois and Western Michigan University, where she earned a master’s degree in early childhood education.

As to the family: piano in the house, lessons for all the children, classical music “ad nauseam” when they wanted rock ’n’ roll. But “she gave me my love of music and the arts,” said Ms. Dame, a professional jazz singer. “She played the flute, so I played the flute. She set a good example for us in the 1970s, getting out of the house and into her career.”

She and Mr. Dame divorced in the late 1980s, and at 50 she married Edward Krieger, who worked various jobs, most recently as a car salesman.

They traveled. Ms. Krieger took photographs of children everywhere they went, and pasted them into scrapbooks and on the walls of their home in Eagan, Minn. “She wanted every culture in the world,” Ms. Dame said.

In addition to her husband and Ms. Dame, Ms. Krieger is survived by another daughter, Jennifer Trammell; a son, Michael Dame; two grandchildren; two sisters; and a brother.

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