Laura was born on August 18, 1933 to Edward and Carrie Merritt in Afton Wyoming. She was raised in Turnerville, Wy. Along with her sisters Bada Jackson, Shirley Thompson, Zelma Linford and Norene (Paul) Quinn. It was a hard life during the depression years, but her family was close.
She spoke of the early years not of the hardship, but the closeness of her family. Her mother had a large garden and they would can and jar vegetables and fish. They had chickens which they would use for eggs and food. The family would get bum lambs and cows from the ranchers that would take their cattle to the open range. She had made a pet out of a little black lamb. She came home and it was dinner. She never could stand to eat lamb after that.
Mom recalled living during World War II. She remembered the bombing of Pearl Harbor, watching her father sit close to the radio, chewing his fingernails, listening to the news.
During her high school years, she worked the summers in Jackson, first folding laundry, and then as a telephone operator. It was during the summers that she met her future husband R.H. (Sam) Simpson. They dated, spending time at Granite Hot Spring, and String lake with lots of Sam’s friends.
On July 27, 1954 Sam drove to Salt Lake, knocked on Laura’s door and told her “let’s go get married”. Laura said “Yes, who is this”. They eloped, got married in Evanston, and drove to Old Faithful Inn for their honeymoon. They moved into Sam’s family home, that was located where the Teton County Courthouse is today. They called it the “big house”.
Michele was born on November 11, 1955. Midge followed and was born on Jun 11, 1957.
Laura often would tell us that she became a lover of the outdoors so that she would see her husband. They were constantly doing activities outside, picnics, camping, boating, and skiing. In the winter while Sam was watching football, she would knit beautiful sweaters, hats and scarfs.
As their children got older, Laura and Sam adjusted to an empty nest. They cashed in their children’s life insurances and started traveling.
In their 60’s Sam and Laura bought a motorhome and did a lot of traveling. They were joined by many of their friends. They settled in St George Utah during the winter, where they later bought a small house. They had many fun days with their friends in St George golfing and going to shows in Las Vegas.
They had two grandchildren, Megan and Sammi that they loved very much. Both girls were close to their Grandmother, and spent a lot of time with her, especially Sammi.
Laura lost her husband in March 2003, and moved in with her elder child, Michele.
Midge retired in February 2012 and came home to spend time with Laura, since she was battling macular degeneration. The next few winters were spent in St. George enjoying time with her sister Louise.
In January, Laura discovered that she had neuroendocrine cancer. Initially, we thought she might have a few years, but the tumors were very aggressive and she became very weak. The last of August it was decided to turn off her pacemaker, and she peacefully passed a few days later.
What a remarkable life this lady had. She faced major losses, losing babies and her husband, who was her soulmate. All through it she faced things with dignity and grace. What a legacy she has passed down to her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband, R.H.(Sam) Simpson, and her sisters Bada Jackson, Shirley Thompson, and Louise Moser.
She is survived by her sisters; Zelma Linford and Norene Quinn, her daughters; Michele LaBounta and Midge Simpson, her Granddaughters; Megan (Josh) Bonneson, and Samantha LaBounta, and Great Grandchildren Maddison, Jackson, and James Bonnesen.
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