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Laura L. Hughes, beloved mother, teacher, and community activist, passed away on September 15, 2013. Laura touched the lives of everyone with whom she came in contact.
Laura was born in Torrance, California-the eldest daughter of Earl and Laura Luckensmeyer. She lived for a short while on her grandparents' ranch in Moneta, California, and then moved with her family to various locales in Southern California. Laura graduated from Huntington Park High School, and attended L.A. City College and L.A. State College, where she was involved with many service groups and school clubs. She graduated with a B.A. degree and a teaching credential in elementary education.
As a mother, Laura was the best! She held down a full-time teaching job, yet found time every day to help us, her three daughters, with our homework, and she found time to attend each and every one of our school functions. She was also a fantastic cook and baker who delighted in preparing meals and desserts for her family; Mom's desserts won several blue ribbons at the L.A. County Fair. She loved doing homemade craft projects with us, and demonstrated a zest for life-hiking, camping and cross-country skiing with us in her beloved mountains. Most importantly, Laura was a wonderful role model-a highly principled woman who demonstrated her integrity, honesty, and respect for all of God's creatures in everything she did. She taught us the value of hard work and of always doing our best. She also instilled in us a love of nature and the importance of conserving our precious natural resources for future generations. Her love was unconditional and never-ending.
Laura also excelled in the classroom. Voted "Teacher of the Year" in the Downey Unified School District, she was a brilliant and passionate teacher with a deep and abiding love for her students. She reveled in teaching her kindergarteners the joy of learning, respect for others, and the complete and utter satisfaction that comes from doing your best. She stayed in touch with many of her students for decades, and was often invited to students' weddings and engagement parties. Ever the teacher and neighborhood sage, many friends and neighbors sought her advice and help on personal and academic matters, and she was always there for them-she never let them down. Everyone loved her.
Last, but certainly not least, Mom was always a community activist. From the time we three girls were in elementary school, she was heavily involved in community issues and political campaigns, often going door-to-door, putting everything she had into the endeavor (this was while she was working full-time, mind you). Laura had a keen sense of justice and put her heart and soul into righting wrongs and helping the downtrodden, whether they be children, families in need, or stray animals. She lived her beliefs and felt it was her responsibility to help leave the world a better place.
We always knew our mother was an exceptional human being, but nothing drove it home more than when we were going through her effects at her assisted living complex. A throng of neighbors and staff members came by to pay their respects; their words of praise resonated with the qualities that made us so proud of our mother: Mom's grace, kindness, and respect for all.
Mom is survived by us, her three daughters Kathy Callan, Anita Melcombe, and Suzanne Scholl. She is also survived by her sons-in-law Steve, Rich, and Kim, and her beloved grandchildren, Melissa and Charlie.
We love Mom so much and miss her terribly. It gives us great comfort to know that she will live on in the memories of those whose lives she so deeply touched.
In lieu of flowers, those interested in remembering Mom may make a small donation to one of Mom's favorite charities: World Wildlife Fund or The Nature Conservancy.
Published: Oct. 10, 2013 - Volume 12 - Issue 26