The inspired chef, Roma, 2008
1966, Mrs. Volpicelli's 6th grade, Overseas School of Rome
Closeup -- that's Laurie in the middle.
Laura in 1967, and her brother Richard's drums
2008 -- during one of Rome's regular floods
2008 -- at Le Vasche (Viterbo) -- therapeutic soak in lovely natural hot spring pools
In 2008, Laura wrote:
Richard passed after an 18-month battle with brain cancer on January 2, 2005. He is survived by his first wife, Rochelle Cheever, his second wife Jenny Eriksson, his sons Richard Mark (27) and Christopher(25).
On February 28, 2015, she was reunited with her son Mark in the Virgili family tomb in the Cimitero del Verano in Rome.
Eulogy for Laurie
Laurie and I have been pals since third grade at what was then called OSR (no A) in 1962. Yes, in adulthood she preferred to be addressed as Laura but she gave me unique permission to use her childhood name, so to me she's always been Laurie.
She was the prettiest girl in the class, and a spirited one, too. She was always cheerful and saw the good side of everyone. We went to each other's birthday party each of those years. Jimmy McDivitt and Penny Pringle would also host birthday parties every year and we were a tight gang.
Those were Rome's anni d'oro. Those years were indeed golden. We had so much fun and such freedom. We had trips to the stabilimenti sulle spiagge di Ostia and roamed the meadows and caves behind Olgiata where the Antinucci family lived. And there were brilliant field trips with Mrs. Fabris, Miss Holt, Miss Coughlin, Mrs. Volpicelli, unforgettable teachers in our elementary school years.
In high school, we had Mr. Ceen, Mr. Brunchwig, Mr. and Mrs. Davidson, Miss Leary, Mrs. Zaller, Mr. O'Grady, Mrs. Roberts, Mr. MacFarlane, and Mr. Dewitt. Rome was a wonderful world in which to grow up. We ranged far and wide on our motorbikes. Laurie's brother Richard (alas also recently deceased) was the drummer in my first band. We played our first paying gig (for twentyfive thousand lire, which seemed to us a king's ransom) in OSR's cafeteria. Laurie was right there, dancing and singing with us.
We lost touch for a few decades after high school, busy with college, our growing families, and our careers -- Laurie stayed in Italy and became a lactation consultant; I moved to California and became a computer programmer. In the 1990s and 2000s I resumed travels to Rome, returning annually for business. Laurie and I would meet and lunch and catch up.
I will never forget the year (2000) her son Mark passed away. Laurie was like a sleep walker. She had entered a dark and bleak world. Her affect was flat and she could hardly make conversation. Losing a child is surely the harshest trial anyone could endure.
Still, we kept in touch, and when in 2008 I returned to Rome for a year with my own children. I wanted them to have a taste of what we'd had, and they loved it. Laurie and I resumed our friendship. It even blossomed briefly into a romance and moments I will always cherish. We had adventures -- trips to the vasche di Viterbo and the Castelli Romani. Our kids played video games together. And there were endless, fabulous dinners. What a great cook she was!
In 2014 it looked like she was going to realize her dream of returning to the United States to her family's country home in Oregon where she would start a new life. She was completing her divorce, and getting her kids launched in their own lives. At last, it was time for her to live her life for herself, to tackle projects that had been on her back burner for so many years, to have that "me time" she so justly deserved. I was looking forward to having her near me on the Left Coast. All this was cut short by her cancer diagnosis in November of that year. We texted and talked on the phone and I could hear her growing weaker. She lived four more months. Her passing has left a gaping hole in our world. But she has also left us so many sweet memories. Laurie, you'll live forever in our hearts.
-- Dan Keller, 2016
With Laura's sister Katherine in 2018