“In Memoriam” listings are expanded paid obituaries, phrased as the family requests, and may include enhanced information or photographs that might not fit within free death notices.
Laurel L. Gilbert was born Jan. 23, 1918, to J.C. and Alvah (Curtis) Pavey in Garrison, Iowa.
After graduating from high school in 1935, Laurel came to Kansas to visit her sister, Verona, who was living in Marquette at the time. She had wanted to be a nurse, so with the help of her sister and brother-in-law, she entered nursing school at Halstead, Kan. After receiving her degree in nursing, Laurel started working for the hospital in Marion. She then returned to Iowa, where she became the floor supervisor at the Waterloo hospital.
When she fell and broke her tailbone, there was no question in her mind that she wanted to return to Marion, where Dr. Melton could treat her. So, with a pillow in hand to ease her pain, Laurel returned to Marion on the train. Laurel then went to work for the McPherson hospital. It was there that she worked with patients who had been quarantined to an iron lung.
During the time that she was splitting her nursing between the hospitals of McPherson and Salina, she met and fell in love with Karl Schroeder of Marion. On New Year’s Eve in 1940, the two were united in marriage. Karl and Laurel made their home in Marion, where Laurel returned to working for the hospital.
One evening after a football game, Karl and Laurel ran into Dr. McCandless, who was currently working at the Marion County Health Department, and asked Laurel if she would like to come work with him. Laurel found that working for the Health Department was a lot more interesting than working at the hospital. She would travel to all of the county schools, where it was her job to examine each of the schoolchildren and administer their immunizations.
In December 1948, Karl and Laurel adopted Laurel’s niece, Karen K. Fisher. Laurel’s sister, Rhuella, was dying from cancer and asked Laurel to raise her daughter. Laurel was overjoyed with this and quit her job so she could devote all her attention to this beautiful little girl. Laurel loved being a mom and housewife. She found that she had a passion for moving the furniture around in the house. One night, as Karl went upstairs to tuck Karen into bed, Karen said, “Poppy, Poppy, I’m over here; Mommy’s moved my bed again.”
Laurel lost her husband, Karl, in 1964. In 1968, Laurel married Eugene “Enie” Gilbert of Florence. Laurel had met Eugene years before while she was with the Health Department. They enjoyed eating out and dancing. Laurel was a jitterbug kind of dancer, and her relentless energy always kept her on the move.
When she was not moving her furniture around, she could be found gardening or walking her dog. She also kept the books for her husband’s plumbing business until his retirement. Laurel lost Eugene in 2006.
Laurel was legally blind for many years prior to her death, but this did not slow her down. She found ways to continue to do the things that she loved. She had many friends who made sure that she got to her doctor’s appointments, hair appointments, church, and all her other needs that required driving.
Laurel was a member of the Eastern Star, where she was a past matron. She also belonged to the Ecker-Fulkerson-Slifer VFW Auxiliary and Marion Christian Church.
Laurel passed away June 30, 2013, at her home.
Laurel leaves behind her daughter, Karen (Morris) Lovell of Wymore, Neb.; her grandchildren, Brenda Russell, Tony (Lori) Lovell, Lorie (Steve) Robinson, and Melissa Lovell; nine great-grandchildren; and two great-great-grandchildren, along with many, many friends.
Service was 10 a.m. Tuesday, July 2, at Marion Christian Church.