Laura Elizabeth Burghardt, 88, died March 2, 2022 peacefully in her sleep in Oakdale, California after a long battle with Type 2 Diabetes and Dementia. She was preceded in death by her brothers Theodore and Charles Dunbar and her sister Jane Cantrell.
Born and raised in Oakland, California with her half siblings Theodore and Charles Dunbar. She attended Fremont High School where she met Glenn Edward Burghardt. Laura attended college in Oakland, California and was a certified child care teacher before marrying Glenn Burghardt on July 7, 1963. The happy couple purchased a home in San Leandro, California and later welcomed daughter Kathleen in 1964. In 1975, the family moved to Oakdale, California to fulfill a lifetime dream of living and owning a ranch in the country.
As a young child, Laura loved to dance and sing. Laura’s mother, Addie M. Cantrell, scrubbed floors to earn money to purchase Laura a piano. Laura cherished this piano and it resides in her home to this day. Laura was an accomplished pianist who loved to share her music with her family. She taught both of her daughters to play the piano and encouraged each of her grandchildren to learn as well. She loved music and especially Opera and show tunes. She was a lifetime fan of actor John Wayne and created a showplace of his memorabilia in her home. Laura was an avid reader and movie lover. Her favorite movies were The Quiet Man and Gone With The Wind.
Laura was active in all phases of her children’s lives. She was a school room mom, Girl Scout Leader, member of the PTA and 4-H Club leader. She mentored countless youths in Girl Scouts as a Girl Scout Leader for many years. As her children grew older, Laura turned her focus to various community organizations in the Oakdale and Valley Home area. Laura and Glenn made numerous friends and joined many organizations and clubs. Laura was a Lifetime Member of the Oakdale Garden Club where she enjoyed being a member for over 40 years, 13 of which she served as President at various times. She also enjoyed the distinct honor of being both President of the Oakdale Garden Club and the Oakdale Women’s Club in the same year. Laura was recognized as the Oakdale Women’s Club Woman of the Year in 2014. Laura and Glenn shared a passion for history and together they operated the Oakdale Museum and Oakdale Historical Society for many years.
Laura was an active club member and served as President of the Oak Valley Art Society where her passion as an artist could flourish. She was an accomplished artist and won numerous ribbons and awards for her beautiful paintings.
Laura was a very talented lady in many different disciplines. Her gift for creative writing led her to become the Valley Home News columnist for the Oakdale Leader for 38 years. In addition, Laura and Glenn Burghardt co-wrote a book on West Coast Chitons which has inspired several generations of other chiton collectors and researchers. Her love for seashells garnered her a rare honor of inclusion in the Book of Who’s Who in America for her knowledge and expertise of Chitons. Laura has also been honored by having two Chitons named after her.
Laura taught herself to crochet and knit. Her family enjoyed many pairs of handmade crocheted slippers, blankets and knit hats throughout the years. She also loved gardening. Her passion for flowers is still evident today as her garden continues to bloom.
Laura had a tremendous love for nature and animals. She carried an aura about her that brought numerous stray and/or injured animals to her home. Her empathy and caring nature helped her nurse many animals back to health. She found peace and comfort from communing with nature. She enjoyed sharing her passion for nature with her family and many trips to see the ocean, rivers, lakes, National and State parks. In 2009, she especially enjoyed a three generation family “girl’s” trip to Moonstone Beach and Patrick’s Point State Park in Trinidad, California where she was able to search for agates on the shoreline as she had done in her younger years.
Throughout their almost six decades together, Glenn and Laura enjoyed their life sharing many of the same interests and hobbies which made life fun. They were truly an inspirational couple. Laura had a tremendous heart, a feisty Irish spirit and a wonderful sense of humor. She always had a smile on her face and enjoyed life to the fullest. She will be greatly missed by her family and friends.
Laura is survived by Glenn Burghardt (husband), Michael Burghardt (son), Patricia Ordway (daughter), Kathleen Burghardt-Cobb (daughter), Glen Cobb (son-in-law), grandchildren: Stefanie Tolleson, TJ Tolleson (grandson-in-law), Karilyn Ward, Josh Ward (grandson-in-law), Jeffrey Burghardt, Chad Burghardt, Toni Burghardt (granddaughter-in-law), Ryan Burghardt, Jon Aether, and Mitchell Cobb. Great grandchildren: Kaili Ward, Jorianna Tolleson, Joanne Tolleson, Logan Burghardt and Clark Burghardt.
Services will be held at the Oakdale-Riverbank Memorial Chapel, 830 West F Street, Oakdale, CA 95361.
Visitation services will be held on Thursday, March 17, 2022 from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Funeral ceremony on Friday, March 18, 2022 from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.
The Oakdale (Calif.) Leader
The Riverbank (Calif.) News
March 16, 2022