Laura Luther McClure, 75, passed away mid-January 2022 in Meriden, Connecticut with family by her side.
Laura was born May 26, 1946 in Middletown, CT to the late Justin Joseph Luther and Mildred Isabel Taylor Luther. She was the youngest of four daughters. Laura is survived by her sister Grace Ellen Luther Tanguay and is predeceased by sisters Virginia Luther Swan and Doris Luther Smith. Laura is also survived by her children, and her many beloved grandchildren as well as her first great grandchild.
Laura lived most of her life at the Luther family farm in Hadlyme, CT. This home was Laura’s pride and joy as it has been in the family since being built (circa 1780). Currently, Laura’s grandchildren are the 8th consecutive generation to live at the farm. Early in life Laura and her parents had briefly moved to Southwestern, USA and to South America, then returned to the farm for Laura to graduate from Hale Ray High School in East Haddam, CT.
Laura joined the Church of Latter Day Saints early in life and loved to sing, conduct, and play church hymnals on the piano. Laura earned her BA in English from Brigham Young University in Utah before serving an 18 month mission for the church in Aberdeen, Scotland starting in 1967. After marrying Jay Cooke McClure in 1970, they had four children, Jay Cooke McClure, III, Amanda Ann McClure, Shannon Luther and Meagan Melissa McClure. Before it became fashionable, the family “flipped” houses first in Bristol/Southington areas of CT then in Davenport, Iowa where the family moved for a brief period. During this time, Laura continued the endless renovations flipping houses and also drove school bus, worked at a local apple orchard pressing cider and volunteered as an EMT.
Upon returning to CT, Laura continued to volunteer as an EMT with her sister, Grace Ellen Tanguay at Lyme/Hadlyme Ambulance & Fire Station. In addition to raising her four children, Laura began a family business lawn mowing and intermittently worked at Aetna, Go Fly A Kite, and Independent Day School. After completing a Master’s Degree in Education from Wesleyan University, Laura taught science at Branford and East Lyme High Schools. She had a passion for teaching the sciences, especially geology. She enjoyed taking annual geology classes at national parks out West with her daughter, Meagan and taking her high school students on many geology field trips across CT. She touch the lives of many kids both in school and especially those who lived at the family farm.
Laura was determined to travel and expose her children to the arts. From their pooled earnings from the family business, Laura took her kids on many international adventures “backpacking” using public transportation and staying in Youth Hostels. Decades later, with her two youngest daughters and her sons (Jayson and “adopted” son, Todd Frechette), this business helped to “save the farm” after Laura’s divorce. Laura and all her kids continued annual family traditions hiking in the White Mountains overnighting in AMC “huts” and especially spending time with the extended McClure family at “Grandma’s” in East Swanzey, NH and at “Camp” in Thetford, VT.
Laura loved the arts especially music, painting and drama. After decades of being the epitome of a “stage mom” sewing all her kids costumes and never missing a rehearsal, she directed and produced several local musicals. Carrying on the fife and drum tradition in the Luther family, she and her kids joined several local “Drum Corps” (musical marching units) for which they travelled extensively up and down the east coast and internationally to perform at concerts and “musters” march in parades and participate in living history reenactments. Her pride and joy was being the drum major with one of these Drum Corps and watching her kids perform in a concert series with the “Boston Pops Orchestra” under conductor/composer, John Williams and alongside her favorite artiest, the late singer/songwriter, John Denver.
In 2003 on a geology trip in Maine, Laura fell in love with the Bay of Fundy in New Brunswick, Canada and bought a small cottage on Deer Island. Accessible by ferry only and with no internet access, she relished her time at this quiet Canadian retreat spending months alone where she’d pass the time reading countless books (usually one a day) and painting. Each year she’d spend weeks clearing brush and trees with clippers and chainsaws reclaiming her “mountaintop” of 1,000 views to paint landscapes. Much to her children’s chagrin, this dogged determination continued at home each year and as recent as last summer Laura would often be “found” high upon ladders repainting the sides of barns and tin roofs. She also had a passion for gardening, especially her garden beds of bearded iris and specialty daylilies. This passion was shared in earnest with friends and family; especially with her son, Jay who would swap buckets of divided iris and daylilies varieties all summer long during their treasured weekly visits.
After Laura retired in 2017, she spent her remaining years resting, reading, watching murder mystery TV shows and gardening. She also enjoyed visits with her fellow teacher friends from East Lyme High School and cooking and sharing dinner with her sister, Grace Ellen every evening. She often would ask to hear her granddaughter, Leah’s laughter which carry across the house to her day and night. Laura’s legacy of kindness, generosity of spirit has had a ripple effect across the globe. Her loving memory is cherished by all those whose lives she has touched and she will be missed by all.
Laura will be interned at the Hadlyme Congregational Church cemetery on Thursday, May 26th 2022 at 2:00pm. Laura’s friends and family are also welcome to gather at the family farm for a celebration of life on Saturday, May 28th, 2022 starting at 2:00pm.
For those wishing to leave an online condolence and/or to make a donation to assist the family in preserving Laura’s legacy of keeping the Hadlyme farm in the family for future generations, we ask that you please visit: https://www.gofundme.com/f/laura-mcclure-memorial