Laura Marie (Simonik) Ramirez, born June 19, 1963, passed away on Friday, February 24, 2023.
She was 59 years old. A well-known preschool teacher and early childhood advocate in the Vail Valley and later, in Grand Junction, Laura worked as a teacher for 17 years at the Learning Tree before starting her own preschool at her home on Nottingham Lake in Avon. After moving to Grand Junction in 2010, Laura taught at Creative Avenues.
Laura’s personal and professional life often overlapped with those who she worked with and nurtured. As a caregiver, she was compassionate and loving. She validated all children’s self-worth, leaving them feeling important and empowered. Laura had a God given gift that allowed her to connect with children and their families. But more than anything, Laura truly enjoyed children: their essence, their being, their worth! She found such delight and humor in the comments and actions of the children she taught. A typical end-of-the- day snapshot at work would have been of her giggling as she shared an amusing story about what a child said or did that day to the most captive of audiences- the child’s parents or teacher- and, at the punch line, all would break out in laughter! Her enjoyment of children was infectious- winning not only an opportunity for parents to laugh and enjoy their child with another human being who cared about their child as much as they did, but also winning their love and devotion. As an educator, Laura took the steps necessary to advance in her childhood education career and contributed her teaching skills, creativity and dedication with her colleagues and students. If you and/or your child were lucky enough to be a recipient of Laura’s love and generosity of time and spirit, you can consider yourself and your children blessed in the most bountiful way! She will dearly be missed.
Laura was born in Duarte, California and grew up in the Grand Junction, CO. After high school, she moved to Avon, CO where she met Peter Simonik, her husband of many years. During their marriage, they cared for their two precious dogs, Gus and Gracie, and purchased and grew West Vail Conoco Garage. During those years, they spent many summers on their boat with friends in Lake Powell, enjoying one of Laura’s favorite activities: basking in the sun. She was a lover of the sun and she was a lover of water. In 2010, Laura returned to the home of her youth, spending time with her family and her dear Father and Aunt Mary, whom she adored. In Grand Junction, Laura was also gifted with a dog named Tony who was her constant companion.
For those she loved, Laura could be fiercely protective, determined and tough. Never one to shy away from conflict when she observed an injustice or any kind of cruelty, in her sphere of life, Laura was a champion for justice. As a passionate animal lover, she was often referred to as the person the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) could always count on to foster any dog in need.
And finally, a loyal friend and FUNNY was she! Laura was the friend you could always count on to be there in a moment’s notice, dropping everything to be there by your side to offer support- or stick it to the bus driver who told you that you couldn’t ride the bus! Funny, empathic, kind, and street wise… And always. Always. There.
Laura is survived by her father Paul Ramirez and her Aunt Mary Martinez, her sisters Carol Gordon (husband Dave), Janet Walker, (husband Jack), Leslie Ramirez, Paula Harmer (husband Mike), and Pat Morton Her brother Richard (Rick) Pettigrew Jr (wife Ofelia), Her nieces Amber, Janaya, Diane and Vicki Lyn, her nephews Paul, Mark and Dale,, … and Tony.
She was predeceased by her mother, Jean Marie Krieger, Gus and Gracie.
Family and Friends of Laura are welcome to bid a final farewell which will be held on Friday, March 10th, 2023, at 1:00 pm at Brown’s Funeral Service located at 904 N. 7th Street, Grand Junction. A burial at Orchard Mesa Cemetery located at 2620 Legacy Way will follow. And then, there will be a CELEBRATION OF LAURA’S LIFE at the Eagles Lodge No. 595 located at 1674 US-50 W, grand Junction, CO 81503.
If you would like to contribute towards Laura’s final farewell ceremony, burial, celebration of Life, and memorial or share a story about Laura please go to https://gofund.me/457e946f .