October 6, 1957 - January 19, 2014 Laura Lan Stewart of La Canada passed away at home in the arms of her loving family on January 19. A memorial service was held at First Baptist Church of La Crescenta, followed by interment at Forest Lawn Glendale. She is survived by her husband, Roger D. Stewart, children Christina and Jonathan, mother Dorothy Lan (Brisbane); brother Fred Lan and wife Shirley (Brisbane); brother William and wife Xiao Ping (Lubbock); and sister Yvonne Wu and husband Peter (Brisbane). She was predeceased by her father, Chunyuan Lan, and eldest brother, Paul Bo Lan. Laura Yan Lan was born in Shanghai, China on October 6, 1957, the youngest of five children of Chunyuan Lan and Ruiru Yang. By the time she was in primary school, the turmoil of the Cultural Revolution was rocking China. The only curriculum at school was Mao's Little Red Book. Many of Laura's family members were punished by the government at this time for being "counter-revolutionary." They were imprisoned, publicly ostracized, and forced to work in labor camps in the countryside. Laura found a talent that possibly saved her from a similar fate. She was tall and athletic, so she was selected to play basketball for the Shanghai Girls Youth team. This later gave her entry to postgraduate study for a Master's Degree at Shanghai Normal University in the Department of Physical Education. As the political environment liberalized and Deng Xiao Ping opened the door to the West, sister Yvonne was the first to leave, becoming an exchange student at the University of Iowa. Even though Laura had only final exams remaining to complete her degree, she did not want to wait and miss her chance for a new and better life. She left China and joined Yvonne in Iowa City in 1981. It would be 18 years before she returned again, when modernized China had become almost unrecognizable to her. After completing her master's degree in Sports Psychology at Iowa, Laura enrolled in the Occupational Therapy master's program at Texas Women's University. In her final year, she completed an internship at the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute. She was hired at Glendale Memorial Hospital by Audrey Marks, who became part of Laura's circle of best friends. Laura specialized in the treatment of hand injuries, and was installed as part of the national charter group of Certified Hand Therapists. Laura met Roger in 1989 and was married a year later. They lived in a beautiful house by Brand Park in Glendale, where they began to raise a family. Christina was born in 1993 and Jonathan in 1997. They attended Salem Lutheran Church where Laura was active, and she was also on the Board of the Alex Theater and many professional organizations. The family moved to La Canada in 2003 to take advantage of the excellent school system and enjoy the ambience of a small foothill community. In the mid-1990's Laura started her own business, Wellspring Therapy. At first it was just a small office on Brand Boulevard with one employee, Marilen Grimm. As the business grew, Laura expanded into several adjacent suites until finally, in 2002, she purchased the facility at 500 Glenoaks in Glendale. She completely renovated the interior, and this sparkling new clinic became her pride and joy. A few years later Wellspring expanded to a second clinic in Montrose. Wellspring now has a staff of 40 and is widely recognized for its excellent treatment and care of patients. It is a legacy that will continue in Laura's honor. Laura was passionate about her work, but she was also passionate about the rest of life. She loved music and the arts, particularly opera. She loved interior design and decor and oversaw two major home renovations. Laura loved to travel with family and learn about other cultures and histories. Places visited include Vietnam, Greece, Turkey, Russia, London, Paris, Spain, the Canadian Rockies, Peru, China, Singapore, Thailand, Tahiti, New Zealand, and Australia. Some were reunions with the extended family from three continents. These were always special. Most of all, Laura loved her family and her two beautiful children, Christina and Jonathan. Words cannot express the inspiration she was to us, a shining example of how to live a rewarding, full life, touching everyone around her with her smile and positive energy. She has left indelible memories for all of us that we will treasure for the remainder of our days.
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Published in the Los Angeles Times on Jan. 28, 2014