Laura Ann Dick Rau was born in Alleyton on Nov. 13, 1926, the daughter of Walter Gresham and Hattie May Everett Dick. She passed from this life on Sept. 5, at the age of 94. The family moved to Columbus in 1935 where she graduated from Columbus High School in 1943 and from The University of Texas, Austin in 1947.
She spent two years teaching school in Columbus. A visit to Washington, D.C. in 1947 became permanent, and for the next 21 years she held jobs in the office of Texas Senator Tom Connolly, Texas Congressman Ken Regan, and The Interior and Insular Affairs Committee of the House of Representatives.
Moving back to Columbus in 1968, Laura Ann followed her parents and aunts, Laura Everett Brasher and Margaret Everett Griffith, into community service, immediately becoming involved in local affairs with four years on the Columbus City Council. She was chosen for the Columbus Schools Distinguished Alumni Hall of Honor. Distinguished alumnus awards are given to honor former students at any high school in Columbus whose achievements, character and citizenship serve as models to today’s youth.
Laura Ann received the Woman of the Year award from Beta Sigma Phi service sorority in 1989 and in 1993 received the Community Builder Award from the Masonic Grand Lodge of Texas, Caledonia Lodge No. 68.
She served as Regent of the John Everett Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution for six years; Co-Chairman of the Columbus Sesquicentennial, Inc.; a member of the Columbus Bicentennial Committee in 1976; a member of the Colorado County Historical Survey Committee; President of the Columbus Development Committee in 1975; Charter Member of the Dilue Rose Harris Chapter, Daughters of the Republic of Texas; member on the
Board of the Texas Historical Foundation; President and Executive Director of the Columbus Historical Preservation Trust for several years and a Life Member and Sponsor of the Stafford Opera House. She also served for several years on the board of the Nesbitt Memorial Library.
During the 20 years spent on the east coast of the U.S., Laura Ann became fascinated with historic houses. Her deep interest in local history and the love of early houses and buildings started a lifetime of restoration and preservation. Her activities epitomize the impact that one person can have on the historical preservation of not only a local community but also on the historical preservation of Texas at large. In Colorado County, she helped fund and direct the preservation and restoration of the following historic sites: 1858 Dilue Rose Harris house (open to the public); the 1859 William G. Hunt house
(the oldest private residence in Columbus); the 1863 Mewes-Gant house; the 1852 Dr. Thomas W. Harris building (the only remaining pre-Civil War commercial building in Columbus); and the circa 1860 Prairie Street House. Additionally, she was involved with the restoration and preservation of the following: 1869 Tate-Senftenberg-Brandon house; 1870s Keith-Traylor house; circa 1860 Buescher cottage (now part of the Magnolia Oaks Bed & Breakfast); circa 1860 Capt. Richard Cook house; and the 1836 Alley log cabin (open to the public and home of Laura Ann’s great-great-great-grandmother, Nancy Millar Alley). She has served as Chairman for the final restoration of the Grand Hall of the 1886 Stafford Opera House and the advisory committee for the restoration of the Colorado County Courthouse. In addition, she has also been involved with obtaining several Texas State
Historical markers in Colorado County.
Laura Ann furnished the 1836 Alley log cabin with early Colorado County Texas furniture some of which was from the Alley family. The cabin was moved into Columbus from its original location in 1976 and restored by her mother and aunts. In 1978 a complete restoration of the 1858 Dilue Rose Harris house created a home for Laura Ann for the next 10 years. In 1988 she restored the house to museum status.
Laura Ann Rau was preceded in death by her parents, her sister Louise Dick, and her former husband Raymond F. (Buddy) Rau.
She is survived by her cousins Ann Brasher West and husband Greg, Marilyn Brasher Wade and husband Roger, Dr. John Michael Brasher and wife Becky, James Everett Brasher and wife Amanda, and Ann Shannon Smith. Her good fri ends Libby Flint and Charlotte Tilotta further survive her.