LAURA
my beloved wife 1931-2005

Laura was an extraordinary person. Her character was a unique combination of brilliant intelligence with hard-headed common sense, of wide-eyed idealism with efficient practicality, of uncompromising principles with a boundless empathy even for her enemies. She never deviated from her deeply held convictions, yet she always overflowed with love and understanding for others. She had a naturally commanding presence, and a voice that could be thunderous, but also an unpretentious modesty. She was a dangerous opponent in local politics, yet was incapable of telling even the most trivial white lie.

For her family she was the beloved wife, mother, and grandmother. For her friends and colleagues she was the quintessential role model and a tower of strength. She left an indelible impression upon, and engaged the affections of, everyone who came in contact with her -- from her family when she was a small child, to the doctors and nurses who treated her in her terminal illness.

Laura's career transcended the usual terms of feminism. She worked at things conventionally considered "women's work" -- the kitchen, the clothing stores, child care, teaching school -- making each of these in turn a power base, and a tool for the enrichment of the lives of others. Concurrently, however, she was active in politics, and served in official capacities and positions of trust and grave responsibility.

Engraved upon her tombstone is the traditional characterization quoted from Proverbs 31:10: "a heroic woman" -- in this case, not hyperbole but plain and simple fact.