Laura Lee McMurray (Gravelle)
Laura Lee (Gravelle) McMurray, 49, passed away at her home in Fairfax on Tuesday, November 28, 2017. She was born on July 31, 1968 in Burlington.
Laura grew up in Burlington where she attended St. Joseph’s School as a young child. Living in the Old North End on North Avenue, Laura could be found riding her bike to see her cousins, Vicki and Valerie, visiting her friends that lived close by or playing on the playground at Flynn School. Laura’s kind and sweet nature was clear as a young child when her baby sister, Karen, was born right before she turned 8 years old. Laura’s loving care for Karen is legendary and Laura would often say that having “her baby” was one of the best parts of her childhood.
In her adolescence, as she was growing her independence as rebellious, exploratory spirits often do, Laura leaned on her extended family and spent time in Lamoille Valley attending Lamoille Union High School while staying with her aunt and uncle, Donna and Frank Hutchins in Cambridge. Laura loved the area and in many ways, found her life long home during this period in her life.
After highschool, Laura spent some time living with her Aunt Patty in Texas and was able to see the bigger world. While staying only a short time in Texas, it made an impact as she often made recipes she learned while there for her friends and family. While she talked about enjoying this experience, it also reinforced her love for Vermont and she returned to start her own family with Bob McMurray.
The greatest joy of Laura’s life came when she became a mother. Laura was an amazing mom to her babies. She anticipated their every need and went out of her way to make sure that they never felt a moment of worry or discomfort. She took her role as their first teacher very seriously and it was common for her to spend hours with her young children doing activities, practicing in workbooks and engaging in enriching adventures. She would spend hours outside gardening with her kids, walking her road with the kids in a wagon collecting rocks that they would paint and planning their days to make the most of every moment. Laura took the time to teach her kids about the beauty of the natural world. She regularly took them camping, fishing, berry and apple picking and to swim at the beach and ensuring that the grew up understanding the value of our natural resources. Laura made a huge deal out of birthdays and holidays and loved making magic for her kids! Looking at pictures of Laura gazing at her children, it is clear that her every happiness was found in their smile and she couldn’t envision a life any better than by their side. Laura raised amazing, wonderful children and they are a reflection of the love and care she invested in them as they grew.
Laura loved all kids and after her children were grown, she provided care to her nephews, Connor and Mitchell, and niece McKenna, as infants. The kids loved their “Yaya” and she enjoyed her days playing with her Conman, Mitchie Moose, and McD. Later, she spent time working at the Cambridge Elementary School as a substitute teacher and para-educator. She so enjoyed the energy of the school and being involved in whatever way she could contribute to growing and supporting the children in her community.
Laura’s life was far too short and those that love her are left with a gaping wound that will likely never heal. The love that we all have for Laura continues and she would want those that loved her to find peace and comfort in one another. There was nobody more loving than Laura. She had the ability to make you feel like the most special person in the world. She cared about others and wanted nothing more than for those in her life to have joy and happiness.
Laura is survived by her son Sean McMurray of South Burlington, her daughters Elizabeth McMurray of Burlington, and Lasah McMurray of Cambridge, as well as her parents, Timothy and Brenda (Dumas) Shea of Burlington and her sister and brother in law, Karen and Douglas Denniston of Cambridge and their children Connor, Mitchell and McKenna. Laura was blessed to have many aunts and uncles and was very close to Donna and Frank Hutchins, Mary Skog, Patricia and Howard Wells, all of Cambridge. Laura’s cousins were all very important to her and she loved each and every one of them deeply. She also leaves behind her beloved and faithful companions Ivy her Dachshund and her big orange cat Pumpkin who she lovingly referred to as "Fat Boy".
Laura’s biological father, Marc Gravelle and his wife Bonnie reside in Thomas, WV. While not physically close, Laura cared greatly for and about her paternal relatives including her half siblings Tracy Johnson, Carrie Scott and Deven Bunnell. She was predeceased by her half-sister, Michelle Gravelle.
Most recently, Laura resided with her partner, Brian Cootware and his son, Chauncy. Laura loved Chauncy and went out of her way to make a special loving home for him. In many ways, he brought the joys Laura experienced raising her own children back to life and provided her with purpose and meaning.
Visiting hours will be held on Sunday December 3, 2017 from 1:00 – 4:00 p.m. at A W Rich Funeral Home – Fairfax Chapel, 1176 Main Street, Fairfax, VT 05454. Funeral services will be held on Monday December 4, 2017 at 10:30 a.m. at United Church of Fairfax with Reverend Katherine Arthaud officiating. A gathering and light meal will follow at the church for those that wish to attend. Memorial contributions in Laura’s memory may be made to Cambridge Elementary School, 186 School Street, Jeffersonville, VT 05464 so that she can continue to positively impact the lives of children in her community. The family invites you to share your memories and condolences by visiting www.awrfh.com.