Memories of Laura Waddell

Compiled and written by HMOC’s Victorian Tea Society in remembrance of a dear friend and member.

On Friday, November 12, Heritage Museum lost a dear friend and long-time Victorian Tea Society member, Laura Waddell.

HMOC Staff – The Victorian Tea Society is a pillar of Heritage Museum. The amazing VTS members put on 3 annual fundraiser teas each year, and it takes an immense amount of hard work and dedication. These memories are a testament not only to Laura, but to the strength and bonds of the Victorian Tea Society that have been proudly representing and fundraising on behalf of HMOC for many years. As you are about to discover in reading these memories, Laura was a spark of light and joy that will be missed, but her legacy will continue onward.

Below are some thoughts regarding Laura.

“I have always been amazed by Laura’s energy and ability to come up with centerpieces, menu cards, and bookmarks. She always had an inspirational story for any situation. Her love of Bob (her childhood sweetheart), her family, various jobs, her good works, and a genuine desire to lift up others. She could create art, crafts, bake, cook, and write. She would send me hand-crafted cards to inspire or just say hi. I will cherish our time under our HMOC ficus trees when she came and visited for it was to be our last time together. Laura has gone west into the sunset, but will always be the sunrise in my heart.” – Georgia G.

“I remember how eager and excited she always was to show me her latest design of menu cards and how deservedly proud she was! It became something I looked forward to as tea preparation meetings would begin (and I know we ALL loved her artistic debuts!) I kept every single one of them in a box at my desk- it’s traveled with me to each and every desk I’ve had here at the museum! I remember her thoughtfulness in hand-sewing lovely, lace curtains for the women’s room and donating beautiful, Victorian-framed photos to make the space prettier. Laura was so deeply passionate and dedicated to everything she committed to – her family, friends, philanthropic adventures … the museum was so lucky to have been a part of her heart. She will always be in ours. Especially mine.” – Jamie H.

“Laura Waddell will be terribly missed! She was always ready with great ideas and volunteering to design and make menu cards, bookmarks, gifts for tea guests. I asked her once how she knew how to produce those clever and artistic designs on her computer. She answered, ‘I just figure it out!’ I smile at the memory of her dressed as Glinda, The Good Witch, at one of our early Halloween Teas. Always ready to put on a costume and always ready to buy a table at our teas and invite dear friends to join her. Winston Churchill said ‘You make a life by what you give.’ Laura certainly made generous giving an important part of her life and we are so thankful to have had her a part of our lives.” – Liz G.

“Laura and I became friends the minute we met each other. Laura was an angel. She was always sweet-natured, always helpful, and full of love. She was THE most imaginative and creative person I ever knew. Laura always had a lot on her plate. Her life wasn’t easy, but no one would have ever known it. Laura lived her Christian belief. She never forgot what is God’s Word. It was always foremost in her life. Laura is now a real angel, helping us and inspiring us from above. We will never forget her.” – Marguerite P-R

“Laura was such a sweet, generous, creative, and wonderful person. She will be greatly missed and never forgotten.” – Stacey C.

“Laura was always upbeat and would help out in any way she was able. She was talented and shared her talents freely with VTS. Laura loved teas! She was truly a lady. I will miss her.” – Donna L.

I remember it was the Mary Cassatt Tea from a few years back that Laura went out her way to come and find me. My fiancee at the time, now wife, and I were just about to be married in a few months and Laura wanted to make sure that she wished us well. She brought us special menus and programs from the event to take home and we just had a really nice conversation. I may not have known her very long, but her kind heart certainly touched mine.” – Daniel C.

“My friendship with Laura began 31 years ago when we met in Sojourn Sunday School Adult Class at Beach Pointe Church. Laura was always a dear person who loved people and helping others. She was a get-involved type of person, volunteering her artistic skills and generosity of herself in many other ways too. When I told her about VTS, she couldn’t wait to get involved and sew her wonderful Victorian dresses. She was so creative at making something wonderful out of a thrift store treasure. She will truly be missed by all who knew her. My prayers for her family that our Heavenly Father will give them comfort and surround them with the love of family and friends.” – Mary B.

“Laura took such pride in the menu cards she created for our teas. They added such a beautiful touch to our tables. I’ll miss her creative talent and kind demeanor.” – Debbie D.

“My heart is dented… I just learned of the passing of a very good friend – my Laura Waddell. We met as volunteers for the VTS group, and we immediately took a liking to each other. We shared the love of teas, dressing up, sewing, crafting, Victorian times, movies, plays, field trips, and so much. I loved visiting her home, where she would share special times showing me so many lovely antiques and memorabilia from her family going way back to the late 1700’s and 1800’s – all things passed along to her from her family. Laura was so good at surprises too; one day she arranged a surprise trip for Maggie and me. All she shared was to be at her house at a designated time and off we went. She would not disclose our destination. We drove and drove, then she handed me a sheet with directions once we exited the freeway – still had no idea where we were going, but I knew we were in Santa Monica. She proceeded to park and out we went and walked about a block. In front of us was a lovely Victorian home, which was called Angel’s Attic. It was a doll house museum, which housed the private collection of Mrs. McMahan of McMahan Furniture. We enjoyed tea on the front patio and then ventured inside to view this magnificent collection. What a day and what a surprise! She was so sweet to me, and spoiled me almost every time we met – Laura always had some little trinket gift to give to me. I am so pleased that we got to talk via phone about a month ago. I will truly miss her stories and her lively character. Rest In Peace my dear friend, my tomodachi… love you. You will always be in my heart.” – Pauline H.

“Laura was such a warm and talented lady. I always enjoyed working with her on various teas when she designed and produced the programs, menus, table favors, and so forth. She never said no to sharing her talents and time. VTS will sorely miss Laura, as many of us who knew her personally will. Laura was one of a kind.” – Roseanne B.

“Laura was a real special person. She did so much for others, including the Heritage Museum with her contributions to the VTS. Laura had many talents and I know that she was an active volunteer in numerous organizations, including the Girl Scouts. One time when I went to her house to either drop something off or pick something up, she noted that my hair was still wet and offered to dry it for me. I was in a hurry to go to another event, but she took me into her bathroom and blow-dried my hair!!!!! Now who would ever do this for another person? She will be missed.” – Susan S.

Laura was a wonderfully artistic lady who took joy in creating our menu cards, and oftentimes Victorian- themed favors for guests to our teas. She always had a smile on her face and was willing to take on any task. Laura held workshops on recreating “Victorian” outfits from repurposed thrift store finds, hat workshops, and paper crafts were her specialty. You’d find her dressed to the nines for our teas and attending with friends, while having put in many hours beforehand with her daughter to craft invites and intricate menu cards. Laura was a loving lady who enjoyed her family, friends, and life. We will miss her. – Linda A.