Cover photo for Laurel Vanleuven's Obituary
Laurel Vanleuven Profile Photo
1946 Laurel 2020

Laurel Vanleuven

July 5, 1946 — May 10, 2020

Laurel Lee Ogborn was born on July 5, 1946. A shy, kind, tender-hearted girl drawn to dolls, puppies and babies—anything or anyone that needed taken care of. She was born to be a mother and were there a Hall of Fame, she'd be an automatic inductee: The Michael Jordan. The GOAT.

For a woman whose greatest joy was her family, it's no wonder the phrase, "Happily Ever After" captivated her as a young girl and started a lifelong love of fairy tales, shared with her daughters and her grandchildren through her collections of videos, books and dolls. Despite the many challenges she faced or disappointments she endured, Laurel managed to stay a child-at-heart and was always hopeful for her happily ever after.

Laurel found her first true love at the age of 19, marrying Keith Dale Jenkins on May 29, 1965. She had two daughters, Laurie Dawn on June 18, 1967 and Nicole Jalene on March 1, 1972. On a fun note, Laurel and her two sisters, married Keith and his two brothers—three sisters married three brothers, making for many fun family reunions with lots of first cousins. Although their marriage ultimately ended in divorce, Keith and Laurel remained friends.

After a brief marriage to Dee Passey, Laurel had her third daughter, Tiffany Michelle on August 16, 1985. With her family complete, Laurel married her final true love and life companion, Fred VanLeuven on April 11, 1993 and they moved to Pocatello, Idaho where Laurel worked and pursued her love of crafts, fishing, golfing and loving on her kids and grandkids.

The highest praise I have for my mom is that she was always a good human—a trait that is becoming rare to find "in the wild." She was endlessly kind, unselfish to a fault, endearingly guileless and authentically caring. She didn't have to try to be these things, she just was.

She was the woman who literally took off her shirt to give it to you because you complimented it; She was an "all in" mom and grandma: the "egg to be broken" on the trampoline, Princess Sophia during the Barbie tea party and the only adult pair of legs sticking out from the impossibly small pillow fort. She was the grandma that encouraged eating snacks in her bed while watching hours upon hours (so many hours) of Disney movies with grandkids nestled to her left and right. She was the grandma who had precious little spending money, but never missed the treasured visit to the Dollar Store with Grandma's direction to find "four things" — they felt like kings and queens, in that dollar store with a grandma who knew how to make moments matter.

This was a woman who didn't care about the dates of her life. She cared about living the life she was given, with all of its faults, to the fullest. Never complaining, just getting up each day to find the magic in it.

Perhaps the only other date that matters is the sad day we had to say goodbye to this beautiful woman, May 10, at the age of 73. After years of watching Alzheimer's dim her light and dull her personality, what remained to the end, in spite of this insidious disease, was her kindness. The description outside her care facility room reads, "Laurel is a soft spoken, gentle lady." Yes, the shy, kind, tender-hearted girl remained unjaded and hopeful to the end—still carrying around dolls, three little dolls that were worn-out and ratty from being constantly carried by my mom in her later years. Three dolls—three girls. I can't help but think knew that she'd found her "happily ever after," after all.

Laurel was preceded in death by four "loves of her life," who were no doubt waiting for her with open, welcoming arms: Her father, Eldon, who also passed away at 73 from Alzheimer's; Her gentle mother, Geneal, for whom she cared for in her final years; Her younger sister, Pammie, who tragically died of polio at age; and her beautiful, oldest daughter, Laurie, who died at age 49 after a valiant battle with cancer.

Laurel is survived by her husband, Fred VanLeuven, Pocatello, Idaho; a daughter, Nicole (Dave) Martin, Herriman, Utah, and their children, Kaylee Martin, Cami Martin, Tyson Martin; a daughter, Tiffany Wright, Pocatello, Idaho, and her children, Clover Wright and Axle Wright; a son-in-law, Dave Gillies, Boise, Idaho and his children, Lindsey Gillies, Nolan Gillies, and Connor Gillies; stepdaughter, Felisha (J.D.) Nielson and their children, Shayne Nielson, Treylon Nielson, Aleyah Nielson, and Clay Nielson, Utah; stepdaughter, Jennifer Tsosie, and her children, LeQuison Tsosie, Jaleana Tsosie, Kielen Tsosie, Dreyton Tsosie, Evie Lynn Wright and Sky Wright, Utah.

Graveside services for Laurel will be held at 11:00 AM, Friday, May 15, 2020 at Grove City Cemetery, 1 Willow Drive, Blackfoot, Idaho. A walk-by viewing will be held from 7-8:00 PM, Thursday, May 14, 2020, at Wilks Funeral Home, 211 W. Chubbuck Road.

Memories and condolences may be shared with the family under the "Tribute Wall" tab above.

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

Service Schedule

Past Services

Graveside Service

Friday, May 15, 2020

11:00 - 11:30 am (Mountain time)

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