Miriam G. Lay

Miriam G. Lay

September 25, 1927 – March 15, 2023

Miriam Lay, age 95, of Omaha, NE, passed away on March 15, 2023.

Miriam will be greatly missed by her daughters: Catherine (Henry), Cindy Elston, Betsy, Debbie (Rick), and Susan; grandchildren and great-grandchildren: Brittany Deupree (Austin), Ryan Ford (Jennifer), Caitlin Ford, Betsy Witt, James Elston, Alex Elston (Hannah), Alexandra Reiners (Matt), Nellie Jerome (Blake), Audrey Jerome, Gabriella Bernstein, Amelia Deupree, Samantha Deupree, Georgia Deupree, Parker Ford, Ella Ford, Jameson Witt, Leighton Witt, and Holland Witt.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Donald, son Stephen, and brother Paul Gustafson.

Miriam was born in 1927 in Burlington, Iowa. Her father, Melvin, was the son of Swedish immigrants.  Melvin and two of his brothers started Gustafson Brothers Dairy in Burlington, and she grew up with fresh milk every day and never lost her love for ice cream.  Miriam graduated from the University of Iowa, majoring in Home Economics. It was there she met her husband, Donald, on a blind date.  Miriam and Donald married in 1947 and had six children.  Her greatest love was for her family, but she also loved and enjoyed sewing, baking, golfing, reading, ice cream, and chocolate.

Miriam and Donald lived in Omaha for many years and moved to St. Paul, Minnesota, in 1984 when the Eight Circuit Court of Appeals transferred to St. Paul from St. Louis.  They enjoyed many years in St. Paul before Miriam moved back to Omaha in 2014.  Miriam moved into Lakeside Village and connected with many old friends and met many new friends.  Miriam very much enjoyed living there for the past 9 years.

The family would like to express our deepest appreciation and thanks to the wonderful, caring community and the many people who were friends to her at Lakeside Village.  As well as to the many Caregivers who became friends with our mother and family.  Thank you, especially to Jess, Lisa, Haley, Disa, Dennis, and many others.

SERVICE: Monday, March 20th, 4pm, at West Center Chapel.

In lieu of flowers, please send memorials to the Food Bank for the Heartland or the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

To view a live broadcast of the service, go to www.heafeyheafey.com and click the “View Live Cast” button.


  • JESS Posted March 17, 2023 7:35 am

    I had the privilege of taking care of Miriam this past year. She was my sunshine every morning. I LOVED seeing her everyday. We would laugh and laugh. And cry and cry. She was the sweetest woman I have ever known. I will miss her so much. To her girls.. thank you for allowing me to fall in love with your mother. I may have only had her for a year but her love and kindness will live with me for the rest of my life ❤️❤️❤️

  • Tom Boyd Posted March 17, 2023 4:45 pm

    My deepest sympathies and condolences to Catherine, Cindy, Betsy, Debbie, and Susan for the loss of your wonderful mother, As just one of many of Judge Lay’s former law clerks, I want you and your entire family to know I am so grateful to Miriam for how warm and hospitable and kind she was to each of us when we clerked, and for how welcoming she was to each of our families at the many law clerk gatherings that she and Judge Lay hosted in their home. She was a beautiful and generous person, and it was always a genuine pleasure to be in her company. I will forever be thankful to Miriam for her many kindnesses to me and my family, and we will treasure the many fond memories she has left us. Tom Boyd

  • Michael & Shari Tvrdik Posted March 18, 2023 8:49 am

    Our deepest sympathies for your loss…Miram was always so kind! We always enjoyed the time we got to spend with the Lay family…and we remember very fondly the Thanksgivings in the 80s that Judge and Mrs Lay took us in their home in North Oaks!

  • Tara Norgard Posted March 19, 2023 8:37 am

    As one of Judge Lay’s former clerks, I had the privilege of knowing and traveling with your mom, grandma, aunt, and friend, Miriam. She was the epitome of kindness and graciousness and the sparkle in her eye warmed the hearts of everyone in her presence. She made the world a better place and I feel so fortunate to have known her. My thoughts are with you as you mourn her loss and celebrate her wonderful life.

  • Teresa Fariss McClain Posted March 19, 2023 1:10 pm

    My condolences to the entire Lay family for your loss. I met Miriam when I clerked for the judge in 2002-2003 and got to know her through her gracious hospitality shown to us and also through the week long trips when the judge would sit in CA, WA and OR. She was always lovely and shared her quiet but quick sense of humor. She will be missed.

  • Jill lemen Posted October 26, 2023 8:25 am

    I spent time with Miriam at Lakeside and enjoyed our time together. Her sweetness and gentle spirit will continue to shine in those who love her. Comforting prayers for her lovely daughters and family.

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