Laurie W. Stoelting July 16, 1943 to Mar. 9, 2014 Laurie was born to Lawrence Wachtel and Jean Sampliner Wachtel in Atlantic City, NJ. She grew up in suburban Philadelphia, attending Cheltenham High School, and remained close to many of her school friends throughout her life. Her undergraduate years were spent at the University of Wisconsin where she met her husband Eric. She then attended graduate school at the University of Michigan pursuing a Masters Degree in Social Work. After graduation, Laurie and Eric moved to San Francisco where she soon directed her attention to having a family. While pregnant, needing exercise, she started swimming, which became a major interest in her life thereafter. She swam with the Tam Masters for many years and served as pool director and swim instructor at the Homestead Valley Community Center in Mill Valley, California. When the children left home, Laurie became interested in haiku, a short Japanese form of poetry. She thought of it as a means to tighten her writing style but, instead, became absorbed in the form itself and continued to write haiku and other poetry for the rest of her life. She was active in a number of poetry organizations and had haiku and other pieces published in a variety of journals, garnering a number of awards. An avid hiker, she roamed nearby Mt. Tamalpais, often alone, sketching out potential haiku as she went. Some of the resulting poems she compiled into a well-received small book, Light on the Mountain. Laurie was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 1997 at age 54. In spite of that life was good for the next 10 years and she eventually co-led the Marin Parkinson's Support Group becoming quite knowledgeable about the disease. Typically, she approached it as a challenge and learned everything she could to monitor and manage her own progression and to help others with Parkinson's. She lived to see her grandchildren grow to be entertaining bundles of endless activity. Eventually, Parkinson's overwhelmed her and she died, hopefully at peace, on March 9, 2014 at age 70. She is survived by her, husband Eric, son Andy (Sarah), daughter Ricka, grandchildren Jacob and Lyla, sister Nancy Shrier (Marc), stepbrother Edward Rosenthal and many other relatives and good friends. A memorial is planned. The family requests those wishing to make donations in Laurie's name to consider The Haiku Poets of Northern California, c/o Carolyn Hall, 219 Brannan Street #8D, San Francisco CA 94107, and the Michael J. Fox Foundation.
Published in Marin Independent Journal from Mar. 16 to Mar. 20, 2014.