Laura June Smith McCotter, 95, of Lake Bluff, died January 28, 2017. Laura June was born June 14, 1921 in Chicago to Laura and Henry Smith. She was a woman for the ages — despite a traditional upbringing, she grew into a forward-thinking and progressive woman, focused on providing for her family and protecting the environment. She had been a beloved family matriarch for many decades — practical, wise, and generous.
Following her husband’s death in 1975, Laura June pushed boundaries by stepping into jobs at Abbott Laboratories and then a career managing The Surgeon’s Group in Lake Forest for 25 years. All the while, she was raising her children, encouraging them to think for themselves, follow their passions, acquire college educations and aspire to be their best selves. Her children remember her giving refuge to their friends whose parents were not so tolerant of different religious/political beliefs, or unacceptable gender identities.
As her children became independent, Laura June threw her unbounded energies into protecting the environment. She became an avid volunteer for Lake Bluff Open Lands Association (LBOLA), where she was a dedicated steward of Moffett Woods preserve. Up through her 90th year, she inspired and delighted LBOLA members who delighted in seeing her wearing her fire-resistant gear while taking part in controlled burns to restore open lands, or wielding her reciprocating saw on invasive buckthorn — stewarding the patch of earth she so loved.
Laura June grew up in Chicago where she attended Chicago public schools. At Northwestern University, she garnered the accolade of “Pin and Paddle Queen,” earned a degree in English, and met the man she would marry — Donald Clayton McCotter. Together, she and Don raised four children: Sally Wilkinson (Dave), Donald (Wendy), Larry, and Janet Lester (Todd). She leaves a legacy of four children, seven grandchildren, and six great grandchildren.
A celebration of the life of Laura June McCotter will be held Saturday, February 4. There will be an open house from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Gorton Community Center in Lake Forest.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Lake Bluff Open Lands Association, P.O. Box 449, Lake Bluff, IL 60044. www.lbola.org.