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Laurelle O'Leary  - Dorm Supervisor (1961/62)

(Francis) Laurelle O'Leary, 95, died peacefully on February 2, 2016. She was born Nov. 19, 1920, at the old St. Joseph hospital in Kansas City. Laurelle was the first of five children of Mary Edna Heflin O'Leary and Frank Joseph O'Leary. She graduated from St. Teresa's Academy's class of 1936. She attended Kansas City Teachers' College, where she earned a degree in education, followed by a semester of study at the graduate school of sociology at Smith College in Massachusetts. Laurelle was a kindergarten teacher for the Kansas City, Mo., public schools, and then served as a social worker at the Alfred Benjamin Clinic.

In the late 50's, she struck out on an adventure, working for the Dept. of Defense American Schools in Dreux, France, and Wiesbaden, Germany, (where Priscilla Beaulieu Presley was a teenage student at the time). While with the American Schools, Laurelle traveled extensively throughout Europe and the Middle East. Upon her return to the United States in the early 60's, Laurelle worked for the law firm of O'Leary and O'Leary for 20 years.

Laurelle had many interests, including reading and current events, family photography, and she attended many exhibits and lectures at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. But her passions included developing and promoting legislation for the creation of day care for the elderly (for which she won a Governor's award) and tracing and passing family history to future O'Leary generations. Laurelle was an avid genealogist who tracked her mother's history to Washington, D.C. and the suffragette movement, to the Battle of Bull Run in Virginia where her grandfather fought, and to the family's connection to Mary Ball, mother of George Washington. She traced her father's heritage to County Cork in Ireland, visited the family's homestead in Mallow, a town outside of Cork City, and developed close family ties with "the Irish" family there, Michael and Winifred O'Donovan and Mary O'Keefee.

Laurelle had a feisty and independent nature and lived independently until just months before her passing. She was preceded in death by her mother and father, her sisters, Rosemary Hornbeck and Patricia Piekarski, and niece, Susan Piekarski. She is survived by her brother, Franklin O'Leary and sister, Dolores Murphy Casey, and 18 nieces and nephews. On Saturday, Feb. 6, a visitation will be held from 10 to 11 a.m. at Porter Funeral Home, 8535 Monrovia in Lenexa, Kan., followed by a graveside service at Resurrection Catholic Cemetery at 83rd and Quivera. The family suggests memorial contributions to the Frank and Mary O'Leary Scholarship Fund at Avila University. Condolences may be left at: www.porterfuneralhome.com Arr.: Porter Funeral Homes & Crematory, 8535 Monrovia, Lenexa, (913) 438-6444. Porter Funeral Homes and

Taken from the Kansas City Star, The (Missouri) February 4, 2016