Clara Embs

Resided in Escanaba, MI
Died September 18, 2011

Clara Josephine Karas (Somers) Embs, age 95, passed away peacefully early Tuesday morning, September 13, 2011, at Northwoods Assisted Living Facility, in Escanaba, where she currently resided.
Clara Josephine Karas (Somers) Embs was born August 15, 1916, in Menominee, the daughter of Frank and Helen (Topinka) Karas. The Karas family moved to Escanaba in approximately 1929, where Clara finished school, attended Escanaba High school graduating in 1934, attended Escanaba Freshman College for one year, then Northern State Teachers College, graduating in 1939. Her major was Physical Education with a minor in teaching string instruments. During these years Clara and her sister, Elsie, were tennis champs, in Escanaba, as well as active with their music.

Clara taught Physical Education in Baraga and Wakefield, from 1939-1942, and married State Trooper Richard Somers on March 15, 1942. The couple moved to Battle Creek where Mr. Somers was stationed during the war. He preceded her in death in 1947 of kidney disease.
Clara and her son Tommy moved back to Escanaba after the death of her father, Frank Karas, in 1948, and started her career teaching strings in the junior and senior high schools as well as the outlying grade schools. She was active in PEO, string ensembles, playing for many events in the area. They spent many happy summer days on the Escanaba River at her brother Bill

0 Tributes for “Clara Embs

    We are very sorry to learn of Aunt Clara’s passing. She was a wonderful, caring, loving woman.
    Susan Nolingberg
    Bellaire TX

    I am sorry I never met this fascinating women, only heard of her from her niece, Barb Karas, who cared for her and loved her dearly. I do know she will be missed by many.

    Julie Robson
    Marquette MI

    I had the honor of living next to this wonderful lady. She always had a big smile & time to sit and talk. We ate many chicken dinners together as we sat and watched our puppies play. I moved in 05 – i said many prayers for her and the memories she gave me still bring a smile. Rest in peace my sweet gentle friend.

    Linda Shumard
    Gladstone MI

    I “accidentally’ started violin in 4th grade when Mrs. Embs didn’t realize that Mark Setterlind and I were in a combination classroom. In mid-year, when she discovered it, it was too late! I have been playing and teaching violin ever since. Part of her will live on in all of my students and the many others who she inspired. She was good friends with my Dad who had her father as a teacher in High School. They went on together to play many years in the Escanaba String Ensemble. Her life was full of adversity but she was a strong person and a fine example for all of her students. I will miss her.

    Ellen Foster Rizner
    Holland MI

    Mrs. Embs was my string teacher for the years 1961-1965. She encouraged me to play the double bass and I went on to study privately at MSU as a result and played in orchestras in Lansing, Green Bay and Kansas. When I last visited her with my youngest son Steven, about 1990, we sat on her porch and enjoyed root beer floats using the glasses from Papa Karas’s old store. I’m thankful I knew her and George. We had a lot of fun making music. Ben Helmer, Eureka Springs, Arkansas

    Ben E. Helmer
    Holiday Island AZ

    My Aunt Clara never spoke to me. She always sang to me. Her voice was so musical that every story was a song. Every sentence was a verse.

    Jim Karas
    Three Forks MT

    Mrs. Embs taught me how to play the violin back in the 60’s. I would run into her once in a while at Ludington Park walking her dog (whom she loved). She always had a smile and a kind word. I will really miss her.


    To a great lady who was kind, warm, and humble. She was at the heart of the music community for much of her life, and handled what life gave her with dignity. She will be missed.
    I’ve known Clara since I was a child. I remember her son’s death, and that touched an entire community. I was honored to be a part of musical groups with Clara. We also shared our love of Scottish Terriers. I’m sure Josie has a good home, but there are folks who would take her if necessary. I remember visiting Clara shortly after she acquired Josie. Imagine getting a puppy at her age, but she had it all under control! What a gal.

    Kathleen Creten
    Escanaba MI

    The entire city of Escanaba and the scores of students whose lives Clara changed should be in mourning. She not only taught me how to play the violin/viola, ?which provided the foundation for a 30-year career with The Vienna State Opera,? she taught me an even more important lesson: how to live.

    Stanley Hale
    Vienna, Austria

    Mrs. Embs introduced me to the cello in 1955, a gift I cherish to this day. I had a great visit with her last summer, finding her with a great sense of humor and a memory far better than mine. She was a wonderful person and teacher and someone I will never forget. The world would be a far better place with more Mrs. Embs.

    Stan Jefferson
    Vernon VT

    I have had the wonderful privilege of caring for Clara for the last 4 years. She was the most wonderful woman to spend time with. Never complained about aches or pains, was grateful for every day, and always had a smile and a great memory to share with me. She taught me how I want to be when I grow older. There were so many things about her that I loved, that I can’t list them all. I feel blessed to have known her, been a part of her life, to learn from her, and to know my life is richer because of her. You will always be loved Clara, always remembered…and left us still being a teacher. My condolences to the family.

    Patricia Kalishek
    Gladstone MI

    I have fond memories of visiting with Clara during my years with the historical society (teenage-hood to mid-40s). She was a sweet person and very interested in seeing history kept alive. Her music scrapbooks and other contributions to the museum and archives are invaluable. —

    Lori Rose
    Escanaba MI

    To family & friends of Clara…my condolences on the passing of a long-time member of the Delta County community, a former music instructor…she obviously lived an enriched and full life.

    LeVonne Yelland
    Loves Park IL

    Clara Embs was my orchestra teacher and also a dear friend and – at one time, my neighbor. I was also a friend of her son, Tommy Somers, and remember both of them so well. She was a courageous woman who had endured two tragedies with the loss of her first husband and then her son, Tommy. She was an inspiration to me and she will be missed by many grateful students that she taught during her years as an orchestra teacher.

    Janet Gasman Kahle
    Salem SC

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