mom and me Aug 66

Marjorie Virginia Laity, née Weber 1937-2017

Rather unexpectedly my mom died Saturday night. We’re all reeling a bit, especially my dad. She had hip surgery earlier this summer but had recovered so quickly that she was walking down the block without assistance already. In keeping with her desires there will be no funeral; if you would like to honour her memory, you can send a donation to the Friends of the Thomas Branigan Library, PO Box 213, Las Cruces, NM 88004. If you’d like to be part of a general donation we’re gathering in her name [click here for the PayPal link].

Robert wrote up a very nice obituary that will be appearing soon in The Lansing State Journal, The Johnson City Record Courier and The Las Cruces Sun-News.

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If you knew my mom, you knew how energetic she was, never still for long. In recent years she really loved feeding the roadrunners from the back yard of their home in Las Cruces. They got a new Lab puppy at Christmas and Maggie is already a robust 70 lbs.

Mom was a superb seamstress: she always said that computers were beyond her, but somehow she had no trouble programming the computer-run sewing machine that seemed to do everything but knit (it scared me!). She loved ice skating so much, even when she fell backstage at the ice show on Mother’s Day and broke her ankle in four places. Of course she had her first knee surgery after a spill hill climbing on motorcycles back when we were kids. She was mostly fearless.

Here’s something that never failed to make her laugh. It became a long-running joke on family trips along with the guy who looked at the beauties of Monument Valley and muttered, “I see no significance in that.”

In high school she started working as a telephone operator, a job she loved. She always told the story of helping the woman who wanted to talk to Elvis (she was a big fan herself) and they got as far as Colonel Tom Parker. My dad and us kids would always make her call for pizza because “You have such a nice telephone voice” (which she did). We always had music on in the house. My mom loved to dance too, especially a lively Polish polka.

Thanks for everything, mom. Feel free to share your memories.



  1. S.L. Johnson says:

    This is lovely. My deepest condolences, Kate. ❤

    1. katelaity says:

      Thanks, my friend.

  2. Todd Mason says:

    Thank you for sharing this. Your mother would be an impressive woman who loved to laugh…that was to be expected. Because we tend to resemble our parents thus, if we’re lucky.

  3. Jerry House says:

    Sounds like your mom was a remarkable person. The world needs more like her. So sorry for your loss.

  4. Angelabsurdist says:

    Your Mom’s sense of humour and intelligence shines through with your words. My condolences, Kate.

  5. Robyn Ringler says:

    I’m so sorry you lost your Mom, Kate. I’m thinking of you. XO

    1. katelaity says:

      Thanks, Robyn.

  6. So much love to all of you, as well as my deepest condolences. She will always be, for me, the “other person” in the back of the old station wagon, with the changling child.

    1. katelaity says:

      Thanks, my friend. I love that picture.

  7. shsimko says:

    Now I know where you got your beautiful voice. So, so sorry Kate. Sending you love!

    1. katelaity says:

      Thanks, Susan.

  8. Paul says:

    That was a beautiful portrait, drawn with acuity, sensitivity and love. Thank you for shining a light in your dark hours.

  9. Jose Ignacio says:

    I’m so sorry to hear that Kate. Please accept my condolences!

  10. Pat Mirza says:

    Sudden passings are rough, especially when moms are still at the top of their game and enjoying life. There are no words. My heartfelt condolences to you and your family.

  11. Carol Pouliot says:

    Oh Kate! I am so sorry to hear this. Your tribute to your mom is beautiful. I’m glad to learn something about the amazing woman who had such an impact on you. I can absolutely imagine that you are reeling. We knew ahead of time that my mom only had a few months. In a way, it helped, but nothing prepares us for the loss of our mother. I hope you will find love and strength among your friends and family (and that little blonde cutie!). Take good care of you, my friend.

    1. katelaity says:

      Thanks, Carol, and let me say again how sorry I am for your loss.

  12. Donna Hunt says:

    There was a wide circle of people that so enjoyed Margie around Johnson City. She was spunky, practical, outspoken, funny, sharp–a strong and creative woman. John and Margie were loved volunteers at the National Park, and kind of a “secret ranger” once John became a ranger/interpreter. I once called her for help because we found a fawn covered with fire ant bites–and policy was “to let nature take its course”. I knew Margie would help because she loved animals so much–and plants. Her home and garden were full of plants! She was the only person I knew who purposely came to our place because we had five huge gallumping dogs that loved to wiggle around her-and then she would have to go up to the barn and pet the horses! I will always picture John and Margie driving up to our place in the beautiful vintage Corvette with their smiling Labrador tumbling out the door to join our pack of enthusiastic dogs. That’s how I see her spirit now, laughing in the chaos of happy, adoring dogs. May good memories bring you all soothing peace.

    1. katelaity says:

      Thank you, that’s a beautiful remembrance.

    2. John Laity says:

      Thanks Donna those were good days! I don’ know what’s in the future, but it can’t be better than our days in johnson city! John

  13. Vicki says:

    Hi Kathy,
    I have such fond childhood memories of your mom. I remember all the times our families got together. I also remember going up north to your parents cottage. It seems like a lifetime ago. Your mom was so nice and funny. I’m so sorry for you and your family’s loss.

    Vicki Tebeau (Donley)

    1. katelaity says:

      Thanks, Vicki. It’s great to hear from you.

  14. Carla Becker-Ashley says:

    Kathy, I can still remember your Mom making breakfast for us after sleepovers at your house. I am very sorry for your family’s sudden loss.
    Carla Becker-Ashley

    1. katelaity says:

      Thanks, my old friend. The time goes so quickly.


    I am so sorry Kate…hugs and love to you and your family.

    1. katelaity says:

      Thanks. Hugs to your mom and you.

  16. Beverly Weber says:

    I am so sorry for your loss. It came as a shock to hear of her passing. My heart goes out to you and your family. God bless. Aunt Bev.

    1. katelaity says:

      Thanks, Aunt Bev.

  17. marja-leena says:

    Sending condolences on your loss, Kate. Your Mom sounds like she was a wonderful person.

    1. katelaity says:

      Thank you, Marja-Leena.

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