Laura Lee passed away at her home in Mariposa, Calif., the fourth child of Hollis and Dorothy Ray Lee.
After graduating from high school, she obtained her secondary teaching credential at Fresno State College, the first in her family to obtain a college degree. She also went on to achieve a Master of Arts in education from the University of San Francisco. After a brief marriage to Bob Riechel of Fresno, Laura headed to Manhattan Beach in Southern California where she taught physical education and English throughout the 1950s and early 1960s for the Los Angeles School District. Her nieces, Elaine and Laura, remember several idyllic childhood vacations headquartered in her Manhattan Beach apartment with its stunning view of the beach.
After she tired of teaching, Laura lived in Denmark in the mid-to-late 1960s, ultimately returning to the U.S. to live in Sonoma where her sister and mother resided. There she embarked on a second career working for Sonoma County as a mental health counselor.
Upon retirement, Laura moved to Mariposa, where she proudly helped build her own home with her friends, Tre Ford and Lee Gallagher. From 1993 onwards, she also spent many months in England with her friend Pennie Ottley. Her last visit was in 2014 when she visited her much-loved sacred sites of Avebury and the Glastonbury Tor with a fond passing acknowledgement to Stonehenge. She was an active member of Audubon and loved outdoor sports. She continued skiing and playing tennis until late in life. Passionate her whole life about social issues, Laura was an active member of the Mariposa Democratic Club and the Lushmeadows Homeowners Association.
Laura is survived by her brother, Allan Lee of Hopkinsville, Ky. and numerous nieces and nephews in California and Kentucky. She was preceded in death by her sister, Evelyn Diani of Sonoma, and her brother, William Lee of Atwater.
Laura had a large circle of friends who were very dear to her. These included her friend and neighbor, Marian Folkner, who always had time to take Laura to the doctor, to church and to the grocery store. Her good friends, Shirley Smith of Sonoma, Pennie Ottley of England, Ana Kristensen of Denmark, Ellen Blalock of Fresno, Tre Ford, Susan Lohwasser and Nancy Fagerstorm of Mariposa never failed to call and visit in the last years of Laura’s life. Her bright spirit and wry wit will be remembered by all who shared the pleasure of her company.
Finally, the family would like to acknowledge the efforts of her nephew, Eric Lee, who made it a point to look after her in the last years of her life, as well as Carrie and Gary Lewis her caregivers, who made it possible for her to live in her own home until her death.
At Laura’s request no services will be held. She has asked that her ashes be sent to her good friend in England, Pennie Ottley, who will scatter them on the green hills of England that she loved so much.