Laura Walker Vroman
Redlands resident since 1932, died peacefully at home on September 2, 2013, a few weeks after her 99th birthday. She was born on August 10, 1914, in Adrian, Michigan, when her parents, Alice Stevenson Walker, and the Rev. Lewis Walker were vacationing at her mother's parents' home. She was an only child and lived in Arlington, Mass. until she was six years old, at which time the family moved to Westerly, Rhode Island, where her father was the pastor of the Calvary Baptist Church. They remained in Westerly for twelve years, until Laura graduated from Westerly High School in 1932. At that time her father retired from the ministry, and they came to Redlands and entered Laura in the University of Redlands. They had planned to spend only one year in California. However, they fell in love with Redlands and its warm winters, and, in the spring of 1933, bought the house where Laura was still living when she died. She graduated from the University of Redlands in 1936, magna cum laude, and received her MA degree in history from Claremont Graduate School in 1938.
On March 11, 1939 she married Wilbur Norton Vroman, who had come to Redlands the year before from LaSalle, Illinois. After her children entered Pomona College, she worked for 25 years as a part-time secretary in every office at the University of Redlands, and enjoyed every day. Her husband of 62 years, who was Assistant Superintendent of the Redlands Unified School District, died in January 2001, after 20 years of Parkinson's disease.
She was an active member of the First Baptist Church of Redlands. She was a 71-year member and a past president of Chapter DW, P.E.O.; a 63-year member and past president of Cosmos Club; a 68-year member and past president of Forum Club; a board member of Arrowhead Valley Chapter, DAR; Vice President of A.A.U.W.; a member of the University of Redlands Symphony Board; of the YWCA Board; of the Board of the Civic Chorus; of the Board of the Community Music Association (the Bowl); of the Redlands Day Nursery Board; a member of the Family Service Association, where she typed up case histories, as a volunteer; a docent at Kimberly Crest and past president of Plymouth Associates. In 2003 she was a recipient of the Town and Gown award "A Woman's Place is Every Place".
Laura was known throughout the community for Pie on the Porch, her way of entertaining her friends of all ages and of all walks of life.
Laura loved poetry, especially Chaucer, Omar Khayyam, and Emily Dickinson. She loved to run and at age 89 started jogging, albeit slowly, around her neighborhood. Most of all she loved people and tried to contribute to their happiness. She will be best remembered for her cheerfulness and her joy in life. She is survived by three children: a son, Robert Bley-Vroman of Honolulu, Hawaii, and twin daughters, Mary Elizabeth Elgin of Altadena, California, and Margaret Ann Sacht of Flensburg, Germany, as well as five grandchildren, Rachel, Meg, Anni, Maren, and Henry, and five great-grandchildren.
Memorial contributions may be made to the First Baptist Church, the Redlands Bowl, or the University of Redlands.
A memorial service will be held on Sunday, October 6, 2013 at 3:00 p.m. in the First Baptist Church, 51 W. Olive Ave., Redlands. A reception will follow at the church.