Cover photo for Laura Wesley's Obituary
1942 Laura 2023

Laura Wesley

August 1, 1942 — March 31, 2023

Denver, CO

Laura Elizabeth Wesley (Bliss) was born August 1st, 1942, the youngest of the five children of Howard and Alice Bliss. Her siblings are Jerry, Lyman, Howard, and Sharon. She was born in Ventura, California and lived her childhood in the beautiful Ojai Valley (before celebrities attacked). She also had a slew of nieces and nephews that she cherished.

Mom made some lifelong friends while growing up there. Claudia, who has been the dearest friend and confidant of mom’s since they were knee high to a grasshopper, talks about them ALWAYS laughing, going on hikes, and becoming “blood brothers” after they had watched an episode of The Lone Ranger and decided to stab each other’s thumbs with a paring knife, not unlike Tonto and Kemosabe. Georgia, an accomplished artist that mom met in high school, was also a great friend and the works of art she did for mom now proudly hang in my home.

Mom went to Cal State Fullerton and earned a Bachelors in the Arts. This suited her well as she was artistically fantastic at every creative endeavor she went after. Pottery, stained glass, drawing and painting in all different mediums, embroidery, sewing, stitching of all sorts, and jewelry making were among her accomplishments.

Laura married in 1962 and had two children, Theresa (the pretty one who is typing) and William (the second kid). They both have spouses that she likely would have traded her originals for. She adored Jeff and Stephanie. Theresa gave her three grandkids (winner), and William gave her one. Christina, who is her favorite granddaughter, called her Granny Good Witch and remembers her for being encouraging, supportive, and her number one cheerleader who always pushed her to be her best. One of her favorite memories is watching her grandma and grandpa dancing at a wedding to ‘Old Time Rock n’ Roll’; Brian, who was born a month early, got to see his grandma the second he was born and liked to ride bikes with his mom over to grandma’s house; Alex’s birthday is three days after his grandma’s and she considered him her birthday gift. He loved to ride on her lap in the wheelchair when she lived with us after a hip incident; Zeus was born quite a few years after his cousins and mom was elated when he arrived and is proud of how smart and athletic he is. She also has three great grandkids. Rachel, who has inherited the crafty side and handmade her great grandma a fabric rabbit when she was 8 and painted multiple canvases for her; Wesley, (and no, it’s not Wesley Wesley), loved his great grandma and showed great empathy and kindness when she wasn’t feeling well and she loved that he was helping take care of her; Grayson, being quite a bit younger, got to spend some of his birthdays and holidays with great grandma and will count on the adults in his life to tell him stories and show him pictures so he never forgets her.

A couple of mom’s favorite things to do were traveling and going on family trips. A coastal drive up to Oregon to see Jack and Sally after they moved from California was always great fun. They knew mom almost as long as I have. She and Jack stayed in touch through all the events in their lives. What he doesn’t know is that someone, who shall remain unnamed, took all the Huckleberry jam he sent to Laura for herself. Camping (the real kind), fishing (look up Steelhead), and going to ruins and reservations were on the travel agenda every year. Having always been interested in the American Indian culture, she made sure that William and I experienced as many educational places as possible since our other half is Choctaw. I recall mom overseeing the pot and pan banging to drive the bears away that had gotten too close to the tents. She was somewhat tolerant of my dad swerving all over the road to run over a snake just so we could get the rattler. First-aid was also one of her specialties. She stop, drop, and rolled my uncle after he had the brilliant idea to squirt lighter fluid onto an already burning campfire. William (nicknamed Frito Band-Aid-O) was constantly falling in rivers, splitting his head open (no longer bled after age 10), and riding his bike into inanimate objects. She also took care of my dad when he discharged from the burn center after our house caught on fire. During these trips, adventures, and tribulations, mom made sure we learned about the plights and trials of those that came before us, that race and skin color had no bearing on how we should treat each other, that friends and family can be everything, manners are essential, and to treat nature with respect.  Oh, and that some kids (guess) need to wear a leash.

She could be counted on to be the shelter before, during, and after a storm.

Colorado was one of the many states she had been to during her travels and after divorcing she decided to move there and start anew. Mom was the Art Director at a newspaper and then for a Denver magazine. Two of the homes she lived in were historical and she was very proud of that. She loved to garden, help with the grandkids, and work on projects for the homes. Once again, she made lifelong friends like Mike, Janice, Gari, and Clint. Ginny, who has been a great friend of mom’s for decades, regularly had hang out dates with her at the house and the assisted living joint. When mom mentioned her feet were cold a lot, Ginny knitted her multiple pairs of socks. Doesn’t get much better than that.

After living in the state for decades, she decided to move to Montana. She had a house and property with a great view of Flathead Lake.  She gardened, took care of her donkeys Jack and Jill, loved going to thrift stores, joined a Rockhound club, and went back to school to learn how to make jewelry in every form possible because that’s what artists do. She eventually had her own shop in one of the outbuildings on the property. Janet, who taught jewelry making/design and from whom mom took classes, has a beautiful soul and the two became great friends. They continued their friendship with weekly calls after mom moved back to Colorado. Bonnie, Carrie, Cheryl and Glenn, Nathan, and others she loved meeting up with meant the world to her. She was also adopted by the worlds best dog, Ricky, and then added professional cat herder (4) to her resume.

After ten years of having to wear ice shoes (insurance nightmare am I right?) for eight months of the year, mom moved back to Colorado. She liked to tell everyone that I MADE her do this. I did not!! To her benefit, she met good neighbors and friends like Julie who made weekly visits with Starbucks in hand and who’s family helped with chores and fixes. And Linda with whom she shared desserts and good conversation. It was, however, a good time to move back so that we could help her out and she could enjoy being around her family that had the same seriously warped sense of humor that she did. She absolutely loved it when we all got together for whatever reason or occasion. In the last few years, wheelchair and all, I took her to see Neil Diamond and Elton John (in concert, not in person-but how awesome would that have been?). For Bob Seger, four generations of us Wesley gals went because, well,  Bob’s the man. Mom loved music and saw Pink Floyd with William. Other concerts included Stevie Ray Vaughn and The Rolling Stones. She liked a variety of music which Will and I were privileged enough to grow up on. The Doors, CCR, Chet Atkins, Charlie Pride, The Moody Blues, Loretta Lynn, and of course Bob Dylan to name a few in the long list. In the photo slideshow there is a charcoal on newsprint picture she did of Mr. Dylan. It now hangs on my wall.

A couple of thoughts:

Mom loved cheesecake, a good cup of tea, a great margarita, animals, her friends, and her family. Quite possibly in that order.

On your birthday you will still hear her sing you the song. You just have to listen harder.

When you do something she considers incorrect, you will still hear the tone, possibly your government name, or a guffaw that you don’t have to wonder if you heard correctly.

She said if your name wasn’t mentioned in this seriously hard thing to write, don’t fret. She loved you and said you may blame her daughter.

Please add your thoughts, stories, and/or pictures to the website. Her family would greatly appreciate it.

We will celebrate Laura’s life in a fun way when we know the weather is going to be grand as she loved being outside and having a good BBQ. We are thinking June. An addendum or notification of some sort will be sent out with plenty of notice when we pin down a date.

If you would like, you can make a donation in Laura's name to The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's, Theresa would be very grateful.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Laura Wesley, please visit our flower store.

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