Laura Louise Whiteman obituary photo
 
In Memory of

Laura Louise Whiteman

May 22, 1930 - Unknown

Obituary


NORMAL-- Laura Louise Brown Whiteman passed away on May 17, 2017 in Normal amidst much love and good will from those close to her. Lou was born to Clarence and Laura McIntire Brown on May 22, 1930; she and twin brother William were the youngest of the large family. Despite the tough times of that era, her good nature charmed family and friends in the Thornton Township area of Chicago. She excelled at athletics, art and academics, and was rewarded with a great circle of friends and a very active social life.

The twins...

NORMAL-- Laura Louise Brown Whiteman passed away on May 17, 2017 in Normal amidst much love and good will from those close to her. Lou was born to Clarence and Laura McIntire Brown on May 22, 1930; she and twin brother William were the youngest of the large family. Despite the tough times of that era, her good nature charmed family and friends in the Thornton Township area of Chicago. She excelled at athletics, art and academics, and was rewarded with a great circle of friends and a very active social life.

The twins went off to Monmouth College, where Louise continued to be very active in leadership roles, athletics, civic activities and fun - and made lifelong, cherished friendships. While she worked to help put herself through college, she found the silver lining of fun and enrichment in every job, from nurse's aide to summer resort work with best friend Junie Gustafson, with whom she made some of her favorite college memories. Even with her whirlwind activity level, she graduated with her Class of '52.

At Monmouth College, she met and married Ralph Whiteman, and early on they served as houseparents to boys at the Lake Bluff Orphanage in Lake Bluff, IL. Moving back to Monmouth, they raised three daughters: Cyndy Ruszkowski of Bloomington, Laurie Seymour of Normal, and Cheri Whiteman of Chicago and Florida.

Wherever she was, she gave her time and resources to help others; be it as Scout troop leader, super blood donor, as library volunteer or as library board president; often just an anonymous kindness.

From childhood she knew her values rejected discrimination and judgment; she resolutely stood for equality and inclusion of all people regardless of race, gender or orientation.

"Just as you did for one of the least of these brothers or sisters of mine, you did it for me."

Louise lived by principles of fairness, respect and charity. We can't know how widely she influenced others to, in turn, engage in their own service. But we do know she did.

Gifted with a beautiful singing voice, she sang in her churches' choirs throughout her life, and with her parents and siblings also musically and vocally endowed, "grace" was more often sung than spoken at family suppers.

Lou was a creative writer and prolific poet, often firing off letters to newspapers that wryly commented in poems and puns of contemporary issues. From sculpture to woodworking, she had imaginative artistic talent and she created art every day: her handwriting is so elegant and beautiful that if you ever received a letter from Louise, you probably still have it.

For those who met her, her physical beauty was obvious. For those who knew her, her keen intelligence and clever wit were also beautiful. Louise was a voracious reader, from all-time classic books, Time magazine, and newspapers front to back. Having come of in the Swing Era, LuLu could really "cut the rug" - she loved to dance, and lived to dance.

In 1974 Louise moved to Florida, taking with her extensive archives of family photos and mementos that she later organized into thorough and fascinating family history; by this she gave to her family more than just memories, she gave us heritage storybooks. In Lakeland, FL, she became an Officer at Barnett Bank. Her proclivity to help others led her to serve as a home health care aide for infirm senior citizens for many years.

Louise enjoyed the sunshine, and also her time with her loving companion of eighteen years, Lowell Popp. When her mother Laura needed considerable in-home care, she moved down to be near Louise. Mother and daughter cherished the natural environment and wildlife of their adopted state. Lowell was a dear friend to both. And we all mastered the card game of "Footsie."

After the passing of her mother and then of Mr. Popp, 'Louisa' retired to nearby Winter Haven. Eventually she moved back to Illinois to be closer to her daughters, for health concerns and for the draw that grandchildren provide. As with each new community, she continued to make many new and caring friends in the Twin Cities; at Anglers Manor where she resided for nine years, and many friends from the churches she attended locally. She was especially grateful to be in the company again of dear college friends Ron and Shirley Irion, who were gracious and loving to our Mom to the very last day.

In addition to the surviving and adoring daughters, Lou remains forever in the hearts of seven grandchildren: Eric Seymour, Albina (Sasha) Oldenburger, Kelly (Matt) Blecha, and Justin, Derek, Kate and Anastasia Ruszkowski; and is survived by son-in-law Kent Seymour; two great grandchildren, Lucas Blecha and Aiden Oldenburger; former spouse Ralph (Martha) Whiteman; sister-in-law Ruth Hruby of La Grange Park, IL; brother Bill (Marion) Brown of Oak Park, IL; Goddaughter Carole Brown Siefken of Peoria; and many nieces and nephews who had fun growing up with "Aunt Lou."

With her strong faith in the afterlife and Heavenly reward, she passed on with a contented heart, knowing that she is reuniting with her dear parents, brother Robert, sisters Dorothy and Betty, and the very many friends and others who loved the inward and outward beauty of her spirit.

Louise Brown Whiteman joined her Creator on May 17, 2017, at the McLean County Nursing Home. A celebration of Louise's life visitation with the family will be held at Evergreen Cemetery Mausoleum in Bloomington, on May 28, from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. Arrangements are being made through East Lawn Funeral Home in Bloomington.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Mom and Me Camp (connecting children with their incarcerated mothers) at East Bay,
24248 Ron Smith Memorial Hwy, Hudson, IL 61748; the American Red Cross; or the League of Conservation Voters (www.LCV.org); and random and increasing acts of kindness would be appropriate tributes to Lou.