NORMAL - Laurie A. Roth, 51, of Normal passed away peacefully on Friday, April 19, 2013, at her home in Normal.
She was one of God's brightest lights here on earth and now shines down on us from heaven.
Left to cherish her memory and miss her forever is her life partner, Linda Jones. In addition, Laurie leaves an unable to be filled void in the lives of her mother, Donna Roth; her father and stepmother, Larry and Jane Roth; her brothers and sisters, Andrea (Joe) Snyder, Dan Roth (Tim Mowery), Phil (Sandi) Roth and Jenny (Mike) Quinn; her sister-in-law, Candy (Jerry) Darnell; her brother-in-law, Dave (Mona) Jones; numerous nieces and nephews; and all those who knew and loved her.
Her pets Journey, Harbour, Alicat and Hobo will miss their Momma's love and perfect care every single day. She was the joy of all of our lives, and our lives will never be the same.
She was preceded in death by her maternal grandparents; paternal grandparents; Linda's mother; our pets, Bryndahl, Taylor, Kelsie, Hobie, and her eternal child, Max Jones. They have all been waiting for their special girl and beautiful Momma to arrive. Their reunion made the trumpets blare in heaven.
Laurie was born on Oct. 20, 1961, at Fort Meade, Md. Her childhood was spent and enjoyed in the towns of El Paso, Eureka, Danville and Bloomington, Ill.
She attended and graduated from Illinois State University for both her undergraduate and graduate degrees in special education. In addition to studying at ISU, Laurie played on the women's basketball team. She remained loyal to her Lady Redbirds as a season ticket holder, attending the home games and cheering them on to many victories. Laurie was the honoree at the Play4Kay game on Feb. 11, 2013, for her brave and courageous battle against breast cancer.
A natural nurturer and dedicated to making this world a better place one child at a time, Laurie taught special education for almost 30 years. Starting her career in Roanoke, Ill., she spent five years at Sowers Elementary School. She then spent the remainder of her career teaching, guiding and loving children in the Unit 5 School District in Normal.
Her patience, her kindness, her goal to make every child believe in themselves and their potential for success made her a favorite teacher year after year. Her peers remember her for her dedication, her wonderful sense of humor and her unassuming way of leading by example to make them better.
Beyond the lives she touched in teaching, Laurie took her lifelong love of animals, especially dogs and cats, and funneled it into serving and helping others. She was the director of the Paw to Paw pet therapy program for over 20 years, bringing pets to area nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
In addition, Laurie created two children's reading programs: Reading to the Max and Paws to Read. Recognizing that children read with more confidence when reading to dogs, she brought Max and Harbour to area schools, where they were perfect audiences for young children building their reading skills.
Hers was a dedicated life of service to others, young and old. Hers was a dedicated life of showing grace, gentleness and acceptance to all those who crossed her path. Hers was a dedicated life of pure unconditional love, showing every single one of us how to get it right in a very short time.
As her partner, I will be forever grateful for having the privilege to walk beside this beautiful being for over 13 years. Our love and commitment was celebrated on Nov. 11, 2011, in a civil union ceremony in Bloomington, Ill.. We were soulmates from the beginning with a life filled with so much more laughter than tears, enjoying our pets and building friendships too many to count. It is a lifelong love that neither heaven or earth can separate. Laurie, I will miss you forever. This world is not near as kind, near as warm or near as happy without your love guiding my way. Yet, every ray of sunshine will be your smile, every twinkling star will be your beautiful eyes looking at me, every butterfly will be your gentle spirit floating by, and every single breeze that blows will carry your whispers of hope and love straight into my soul, like you always have. My heart will be forever entwined with yours because we are one. We will continue to be one until we meet again.
Your work here is done and your eternal rewards are many. You earned the peaceful path that took you where you are no longer in pain, no longer hurting, no longer racing for a cure. You were my angel here and you're my angel now. Until we meet again, rest easy, my angel. Rest easy.
The family would like to thank Advocate Bromenn Hospice Care, especially the wonderful loving care that our nurse, Linda Cushing, gave to all of us, especially Laurie. Linda, you were another angel on our path and we will be forever grateful to you.
A celebration of life service will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, April 27, 2013, at Carmody Flynn Williamsburg Funeral Home in Bloomington, Ill., with the Rev. Susan Baller-Shepard officiating. A visitation from 4 to 7 p.m. will be held at the funeral home on Friday, April 26, 2013.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to the following charities that were so important to Laurie: Wedrose Acres Animal Sanctuary, 16747 Kappa Road, Gridley, IL 61744, or Humane Society of Central Illinois, 423 Kays Drive, Normal, IL 61761.