Lauri Elizabeth KEPHART
My mom, I am not sure how I can explain how amazing our mom was and what she meant to so many in anything short of a novel.
When I think about who my mom was to me and what she represented I can only smile. The amount of care and love within her was unmatched. Whether it was a person or animal in need my mom was always there, even when it meant taking on a responsibility, she didn’t have space for. This was just a part of who she was. Her door was always open for anyone needing a place to feel at home including hosting Christmas dinners for more people than you could fit in the house. Then there was the determination to make our lives better and my mom did this through hard work and willpower. Let’s be honest, raising 3 girls and a boy in the 80’s / 90’s must have been something else for her.
We were an animal house, if we didn’t have cats then we had hamsters or Chinchillas. As we got older my mom moved towards dogs, probably because they were so much like her and shared in her loyalty. Mom left us with her 2 dogs, I am nervous to have 3 dogs and also grateful that Max and Sara get to be a part of our home now. It gives us a piece of mom and also gives them a good home with more than enough love to share. While I heard a lot of “they’re trained” from mom and proceeded to question this when we talked, 9 days later I can say mom did a pretty good job with them and they are indeed “mostly” trained. If there was an area that I felt went unnoticed it was mom’s creativity, from using speckle spray paint on Ikea chairs, to making random shelves for storage, to making small spaces feel large and cozy.
I remember my mom getting me my first curved stick for hockey, I was able to raise the puck for the first time. I would then tell my mom I was going to play in the NHL one day and get rich for us, and each year my mom would manage to find the money to help keep me in the sport I loved so dearly. Safe to say I didn’t make it to the NHL, all her dedication to keeping me in sports didn’t go unnoticed and it has helped shape me into the person I am today.
I share these memories because they are just a few that help highlight the amazing person our world had to let go of. While incredibly sad there are also positives to come from all these memories. Our mother’s pure kindness and willpower has rubbed off on all her children and helped us become the people we are today, there are character traits of our mom in all four of us kids which can also be seen in our own children. I myself will be sure to reflect on these when I see our children displaying them, and I am sure a smile will come when I do.
Our parents’ names were Sidney Owen Swarts and Deborah Elizabeth Elizabeth Swarts who were married in 1946 in Hamilton Ontario. They moved out west to start their family and raised their three girls Linda, Lauri and Colleen in Edmonton. Our mom Deborah, had two sisters and a brother, their families had a large pig farm near Carmangay, AB and a chicken farm near Red Deer. We enjoyed going to visit the farms on weekends, where we climbed trees with our cousins, played with the animals and rode horses. This was definitely the beginning of what created the incredible love of animals that Lauri had. She adored all animals and had her very own pet Hamsters and also a pet fish.
We have so many happy memories playing with dolls and pretending to be nurses at hospital just like our Mom. We would take turns being ‘sick’ so we could give each other medicine which were actually little rocket candies. We would dress up our cat Muzzy in doll clothes and pretend he was a baby, we even put him in a highchair and were surprised at how fast he could escape. Lauri had such a giant heart and wanted to be a nurse or a vet when she grew up.
In our Glenora crescent, we played outdoor games whenever we could. Kick the can and baseball were our favourites, especially when our neighborhood friends Laurie Butler and Greg Williams would join in. Also, one of our favorite things to do on Sundays was watch the Magical world of Disney and the show Bonanza with our family. Every summer, our parents took us on holidays to either Jasper, Waterton or the Shushwap. Our Mom and Dad would take us to have swimming lessons at the YMCA, which we loved. We would have so much fun swimming at the Queen Elizabeth outdoor pool and our parents also took us regularly to the Storyland Valley Zoo and Elk Island Park. In the winter we were always tobogganing at Government Hill and we loved to go skating at the outdoor rink in the neighborhood.
Lauri attended elementary school at Westminster Elementary and Grovenor School, she went to high school at Jasper Place High School and also attended high school in Prince George. She loved being with her high school friends Lois Hawker and Wendy Bechtold. She was very musically gifted and loved to play the piano when she was young, she could play anything she heard on the radio by ear, it was amazing. Also, Lauri played the glockenspiel in the Edmonton All Girls Drum and Bugle band with her sister Colleen. Lauri worked at a plastics company in
Edmonton when she was a teenager.
Lauri was married to Kip (Morton) Kephart, he passed away at age 50 in 2001.
She leaves behind her Children/Inlaws:Grandchildren
Debbi Meronowich/Jesse Meronowich: Jacob, Mary.
Kerri Kephart/Joe Dawson: Mekayla, Corbin, Caiden, Rebecca.
Kate Kephart/ Bryan Graham: Joshua, Ethan, Grace.
Rick Kephart/Chantal Kephart: Victoria, Adrian.
Mandy Hallows: Colby, Zac, Bryce.
After college and marriage Lauri worked in the customer service industry as a food and beverage manager for most of her career. She raised her 4 children this way. She loved animals and had many over the years as well as helping to nurse many found injured and sick animals back to health before rehoming them. She had a huge heart and was one of the most empathic people you could ever meet. She left behind 2 fur babies, Sara and Max, who now are in the loving care of her son Rick.
Lauri loved spending time in her garden which she dubbed her oasis. We spent many days and nights enjoying patio parties in her private little oasis. With raising 4 children on her own Lauri never had a lot of money. However that didn’t stop her from having a home that looked like it belonged on the cover of House and Home magazine. She took great pride in the beauty and cleanliness of her home. And still somehow made it feel very comfortable and homey to sit in. Lauri loved listening to music and spent hours making up her own tapes. Ensuring to write down every song on the list have beautifully color the background. Her mix tapes were amazing. She put pride and extreme detail in every project she took on. She loved sitting in a freshly cleaned home burning her candles and listening to music. Every Christmas she hosted dinner and cooked for 20 plus people. Everyone was welcome. If we knew anybody who did not have a place to go, they came to our house and were family. Over the years she fostered many of our friends who were having a hard time at home. Lauri opened her heart and her home to anybody and everybody who needed it. She would give you the shirt off her back if she knew you needed it, without a second thought for herself. After her children moved out her door was always open. Quite often her children’s friends would visit just to say Hi and have a drink. Her grandchildren were always with her. They spent all their time there that was available because they loved so much to be with their grandmother. She had the most amazing heart and soul, and this world lost an angel when she passed.