Laura J. (Novotny) Prendergast

PRINCETON - Laura Jane (Novotny) Prendergast, 99, formerly of Princeton and Arlington, died Jan. 3, 2021 in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif.

Mass will be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 18 at St. Louis Catholic Church, Princeton followed by burial at Calvary Cemetery in Arlington. Visitation will be from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 17 at Norberg Memorial Home, Inc. & Monuments, Princeton.

Laura was born May 20, 1921 in Tama, Iowa, the youngest of seven children of Bertha Anna Schultz (Sulc) and Edward Novotny. She married James Drummer Prendergast, son of Margaret Drummer and William Henry Prendergast of rural LaMoille, on Aug. 21, 1948 at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, Arlington. He preceded her in death.

Survivors include two daughters, Dr. Susan P. (William) Schoelwer of Washington, D.C. and Sheila A. (David) Bloodgood of Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif.; five grandchildren, Margaret Susan, William James and Jennifer Laura Schoelwer, and Ryan James and Patrick Thomas Bloodgood; and three great-grandchildren, Vivian Jane, William Joseph and James Henry Schoelwer.

She was preceded in death by her husband, five siblings, two nephews and a niece. 

After graduating from the University of Iowa in 1944, she went to LaMoille in 1946 to teach high school English and history. Several years after she and James married, they began farming in Arlington, gradually restoring the Victorian house built by the town’s founder. Laura taught school in Malden and Van Orin before earning a certificate in Library Science and becoming LaMoille’s school librarian. They moved to Princeton in 1982 and enjoyed a thriving enterprise renovating more than a dozen distinguished older homes. She especially loved books, music, gardening and antiquing. She operated Village Antiques and Books for more than four decades, with shops in Dover and Princeton. She sang in the choir at St. Patrick’s Church in Arlington, led the Lucky Clovers 4-H Club, and served on the board of the Owen Lovejoy Homestead

Memorials may be directed to St. John Fisher Catholic Church, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA; St. Louis Catholic Church, Princeton; Catholic Relief Services; or Seedlings Braille Books for Children.

Online memorials and condolences may be left at


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