Laura Gobbi
1969 - 2020
BORN
1969
DIED
2020
Laura Marie Gobbi
March 15, 1969—June 13, 2020
Laura Marie Gobbi, a director at The Nature Conservancy, died at home in Washington D.C., on June 13, 2020 due to breast cancer. She was 51 years old and survived by her wife Victoria Clarke of Washington, D.C.; father Edward Gobbi of Lynnfield, Massachusetts; brother Eddie Gobbi of Wakefield, Massachusetts; and two cats, Taz and Saskia. She was preceded in death by her mother, the late Judith Ann Kennedy Gobbi and two other cats, Lulu and Stella.

Laura was the director of donor engagement at The Nature Conservancy (2019-2020) and based at the organization's Worldwide Office in Arlington, Virginia. Prior to this position, she was the director of donor relations and events at the Smithsonian Institution (2015-2019) in Washington, D.C.

Laura was a gifted director and manager of people. She was born to foster meaningful connections among coworkers and revered for developing talent, managing high-performing teams, all the while building community among her colleagues. She is described by one colleague as "a vibrant, engaging individual who approached every moment with sincerity and deep intent."

Laura's career had many chapters. She was an assistant vice president of alumnae relations and institutional giving for Mills College; executive director of the alumni association at her alma mater, Oberlin College; and a museum scientist at the University of California, Berkeley.
At each job, Laura most valued her relationships with colleagues and donors, and many became devoted friends.

She had wide and diverse interests. She earned a Master of Arts in the History of Art from New York University Institute of Fine Arts and a Bachelor of Arts in the History of Art and Flute Performance from Oberlin College. But her academic degrees did not begin to reveal all her loves.

Laura studied and spoke Italian and French, played the flute, wrote poetry, painted with watercolors, and was an adept student of the natural world, especially birds and butterflies. She served as the president of the board of directors for the Golden Gate Audubon Society, the San Francisco Bay Area chapter of the National Audubon Society, earning the designation of Master Birder through the California Academy of Sciences. But, her friends knew her as the expert they could count on to identify a rare species in a meadow or grove of trees that happened to be resting before continuing on during migration.

She once described herself in her personal biography on the OkCupid dating website as "a feisty Italian-Irish Bostonian at heart, one-part Sopranos, one-part Joyce…The first things people usually notice about me—my openness and interest in what they have to say. My positive attitude and ability to see good in things…Sometimes my style. I love shoes...The six things I could never do without: family, friends and animals; kissing; travel and narrative; nature; laughing; and music."

Throughout her life and illness, Laura returned to her gratitude, again and again. Gratitude was her mantra. For years, she kept a small paper cutout that still sits at the base of her personal reading lamp that simply reads: "BE GRATEFUL TO EVERYONE."

Laura had a clever and sweet sense of humor and wanted most to be remembered for that humor and her love of life and the natural world.

No public service will be held as it was Laura's wish to be cremated and have her ashes scattered at a special location on Round Lake Trail in Sierra Nevada and on the flats at the Mass Audubon Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary. Family and friends are invited to her celebration of life ceremony to be held at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, donations in Laura's name can be made to Smith Center for Healing and the Arts, 1632 U Street, NW, Washington, DC 20009.

To plant trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published by San Francisco Chronicle from Jun. 20 to Jun. 21, 2020.
MEMORIAL EVENTS
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24 Entries
Laura, I miss you so much. I live in your beautiful memory because you exemplify what life is all about (Love). Until we meet again!
Rhonda Harrison
Friend
June 13, 2021
Such a wonderful and warm person. I will miss her deeply.
marcella bassora
August 19, 2020
Laura was in a seated yoga class I teach at the Smith Center. She was a light to all of us in the class. I will pass on her warmth and gratitude and think of her fondly. It was a gift to know her, even for the few moments in time that I did.
Beth Lawrence
Friend
June 30, 2020
Dear Ed and Eddie,

I was shocked to hear of Laura's passing and sorry and sad that I had fallen so out of touch with her over these last years that I didn't even know she was sick. She had a huge impact on my life and I count myself very lucky to have been close to her once. Her thoughtfulness, humor and her unique take on the world around her are unforgettable.

I also remember you both very fondly Ed and Eddie, how generous and welcoming you both were to me (and the great meals we had together). My heart goes to you both.

Gabe



Gabe Wasserman
Friend
June 27, 2020
Laura was such a shining star in our lives. She was always able to brighten our days with stories of natural critters encountered. Her cat impersonations, her constant jokes and humor, and her ability to make light of a crazy situation will always bring joy to my mind.

May she rest in peace knowing of how much happiness she brought to others around her. Sending Victoria and Laura's family lots of love and thoughts during this time.
Brent Stewart
Coworker
June 26, 2020
Dear Ed & Eddie, I am so sorry to hear of Laura's passing. We had so much fun growing up together in Sudbury, listening to Shawn Cassidy and Kristy McNichol, creating stupendous dance routines, screaming out John Denver songs as we sledded in the neighbors yard. So many fun memories! :) I loved seeing Laura at our last HS reunion and was glad to see that she was so happy. My sincere condolences for your loss, Ellen
Ellen Coleman
Friend
June 25, 2020
Ellen Coleman
June 25, 2020
Dear Cousin Laura. Although we didn't get to say goodbye I wanted to let you know that your one of the strongest ladies I know. Your strength and spirit was inspiring to all of us. To keep fighting and hold onto HOPE. I will know its you visiting to say hi when a see a butterfly passing by. Until we meet again. RIP Love Cousin Donna.
June 25, 2020
I had the great pleasure of knowing Laura through the Mills community. She was a wonderful spirit who worked very hard but somehow managed to make it look easy. My heart goes out to her loved ones during this difficult time.
Marcia Randall
Acquaintance
June 23, 2020
Sorry for your loss, so deeply saddened by her passing. I will never forget our wonderful childhood together. My sincere condolences.
Joanne Canavan
Friend
June 21, 2020
I was very saddened to hear of Laura's passing. I was her neighbor our freshman year at Oberlin. She and I connected right away and we spent many hours just talking. She did a great impression of her French professor! She was witty, sweet and smart and we helped each other adjust to college life. Even though I had limited contact with her after Oberlin my time there will always be connected with her. My deepest condolences to her family!
Mark Libby
June 21, 2020
My deepest sympathy to Laura's wife as well as her brother and father. Thinking of all of you and wishing you peace and comfort. It was such a pleasure to be Laura's Guidance Counselor during her high school years. I am saddened and sorry that she has passed too young and in awe of all that she accomplished in her too short life. May she Rest In Peace.

Rosemary Colson
June 21, 2020
Laura was one of the funniest, happiest, fun-loving people I have ever had the honor to work with. She expressed her optimism in the sparkling jewelry and colorful outfits she wore. She had a wry sense of humor and nothing escaped her hawkeye vision. Bird enthusiast, cat lover, she was kind and caring. The world will be a sadder place without her. My condolences to her loved ones.
Denise Arnot
June 20, 2020
Just yesterday I told my son about Laura. I had no idea she was sick... I was remembering working with her at Russells Garden Center how she kept me laughing for the entire summer. She was so unique and her loss will be deeply felt even by those of us who saw her infrequently or had lost touch. For her family and her wife, I am so sorry for your loss.
Robin Espinola
Friend
June 20, 2020
Laura and I met in our Cancer Support group. We became instant sisters. I mean that in such a sincere way. Ill miss our cats stories, our hair woes with new growth and emojis. Heaven has gained a Beautiful Angel, Laura Gobbi. Im sending condolences to Vic and the Gobbi family.
Rhonda Harrison
Friend
June 20, 2020
I had the wonderful pleasure of meeting Laura Gobbi as my Cancer Group Sister. I mean that in the most sincere way. As soon as we met, we became instant friends. Her softness was captivating, but strong in the sense of her knowing herself and journey. I will miss our cat stories, our hair pictures of new growth, our emojis, and checking on one another after treatment. I can tell you, Laura . I miss her so much and sending my condolences to Vic her wife who is amazing to have loved her unconditionally. Heaven has gained a beautiful Angel.
Rhonda Harrison
Friend
June 20, 2020
I had the wonderful pleasure of meeting Laura Gobbi as my Cancer Group Sister. I mean that in the most sincere way. As soon as we met, we became instant friends. Her softness was captivating, but strong in the sense of her knowing herself and journey. I will miss our cat stories, our hair pictures of new growth, our emojis, and checking on one another after treatment. I can tell you, Laura is at peace with Mom and her cats that have gone on before her. I miss her so much and sending my condolences to Vic her wife who is amazing to have loved her unconditionally. Heaven has gained a beautiful Angel.
Rhonda Harrison
Friend
June 20, 2020
I had the wonderful pleasure of meeting Laura Gobbi as my Cancer Group Sister. I mean that in the most sincere way. As soon as we met, we became instant friends. Her softness was captivating, but strong in the sense of her knowing herself and journey. I will miss our cat stories, our hair pictures of new growth, our emojis, and checking on one another after treatment. I can tell you, Laura is at peace with Mom and her cats that have gone on before her. I miss her so much and sending my condolences to Vic her wife who is amazing to have loved her unconditionally. Heaven has gained a beautiful Angel.
Rhonda
Friend
June 20, 2020
I had the wonderful pleasure of meeting Laura Gobbi as my Cancer Group Sister. I mean that in the most sincere way. As soon as we met, we became instant friends. Her softness was captivating, but strong in the sense of her knowing herself and journey. I will miss our cat stories, our hair pictures of new growth, our emojis, and checking on one another after treatment. I can tell you, Laura is at peace with Mom and her cats that have gone on before her. I miss her so much and sending my condolences to Vic her wife who is amazing to have loved her unconditionally. Heaven has gained a beautiful Angel.
Rhonda Harrison
Friend
June 20, 2020
Dear Eddie and Mr. Gobbi,
My deepest sympathy on the loss of your beloved daughter and sister. It was such a pleasure to be Laura's guidance counselor back at LS. She was unforgettable, and so are you,Eddie. I remember your whole family fondly and am very sorry and sad that both Laura and her beloved mom are gone too soon and too young. My thoughts are with you all.
With Heartfelt Sympathy,
Rosemary Colson
June 20, 2020
Dear Ed and Eddie,
I am so sorry. Laura was beautiful inside and out. Always enjoyed her in West Hall at L-S. It was a pleasure to know her.
With sincere sympathy to you both.
Nancy Ragno
Nancy Ragno
June 20, 2020
So sorry to hear this. Always enjoyed Laura in West Hall at L-S. Beautiful girl inside and out. My sincere sympathy to her Dad and brother.
Love and sympathy.
Nancy Ragno
June 20, 2020
Laura has been an incredible gift--to the world and to me and to everyone who met her. She lived with so much joy and gratitude, even during her illness, that she always lifted people up and helped them. I appreciate and will miss her kind heart, her love of nature and beautiful things, her humor--the cat voices!--and her drive to make the world a better place. Laura will be in my heart and on my mind forever.

I am so sorry for your terrible loss, Vic, Ed and Eddie. My heart is breaking for you.
Cynthia Brandt
June 20, 2020
DEAR Ed and Eddie, I was so shocked and sadden to read of Laura's passing. It has been years since we have seen your family but have always had fond memories of the times we spent together. Laura sounded like an amazing person. Our thoughts and prayers go out to both of you. Nancy + Tom
Nancy Kershaw
June 19, 2020
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