CHILLICOTHE - Laura M. Pope, 86, of Chillicothe, formerly of Mapleton, passed away and went to be with her Lord and Savior at 6 a.m. Sunday, March 2, 2014, at Heritage Health (Manor) in Chillicothe.
Laura Mae Young was born on June 9, 1927, in Lombard, Ill., to Oria Morris and Neosha Irene Young. She married Francis L. Sonnemaker on Nov. 5, 1945, in Pekin, Ill., and he died Sept. 13, 1996. She married C. Lee Pope on May 29, 2004, in Mapleton, Ill., and he died Nov. 28, 2006, in Pekin.
Laura is survived by one son, R. Steve Sonnemaker of West Peoria; two stepdaughters, Lynne (Neal) Johnson of Pekin and Donna (Tom) Milos of St. Louis, Mo.; one stepson, Norman (Kathryn) Pope of Elsburry, Mo.; one sister, Doris (Claude) Coone of Metamora, Ill.; one brother, Donald (Darlene) Young of Abilene, Texas; and five nephews.
She was also preceded in death by her parents and one brother, Robert Young.
Laura was a homemaker and Sunday school teacher at LaMarsh Baptist Church and worked as a beautician at her home. She also volunteered for more than 30 years as the area field representative for Youth for Understanding, a foreign exchange student program. She served as a host mother to well over 25 foreign exchange students from Denmark, Finland, Germany, Holland, Spain, Yugoslavia, Colombia, Chile, Paraguay, Ecuador and Japan. Laura had a great and caring compassion for others and had become a mother figure to so many around the world.
The family would like to thank the loving and caring staff at Heritage Health in Chillicothe for the excellent care they gave Laura.
Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. Thursday, March 6, 2014, at LaMarsh Baptist Church in Mapleton. Visitation will be from 9 to 11 a.m., prior to service at her church. The Rev. Brian Rahn will officiate. Burial will be in Maple Ridge Cemetery.
Henderson Funeral Home & Crematory, 2131 Velde Drive, Pekin, is assisting her family with arrangements.
Memorials may be made to the LaMarsh Baptist Church, Hollis Park District or the charity of donor's choice.