On the evening of Friday, November 4, 2022, we said goodbye to Laurie Cavan Varela. She was mother to Bianca Varela and fiancée to Stephen Otto.
Some of you in Oakdale remember Laurie or knew her as your classmate or teammate in the years she attended Oakdale schools. In high school, she played on the volleyball and badminton teams (yes, we had badminton back then) like any good Filipino daughter would do and took it to college where she competed and earned the rank of 2nd in State. She was also excellent at tennis, ping pong, and billiards. As time went on, Laurie became a mother and Bianca Noel Varela became her life. She became a crossing guard, working for Oakdale PD for 22 years and simultaneously working for Oakdale Unified School District as an aide at Fair Oaks Elementary in anticipation of the years she knew she would be able to watch Bianca grow. Through those years, you would have also seen Laurie at many of the local pools as a swim mom at Bianca’s meets in the summer. She also supplemented her income as a blackjack dealer for parties on the side. It wasn’t too much later that she met her fiancé, Steve, making her life so much bigger.
Steve was amazing to her. She was a huge Oakland A’s fan and Steve would take her to Arizona for Spring Training every year. For her birthdays, they travelled to Pismo Beach to spend a week enjoying the cool weather, beach, and sunshine before the new school year started. She blossomed in her relationship with Steve, and he made his home in Oakdale with her moving from Cleveland, Ohio.
To her sisters, brothers, nieces, nephews, cousins, co-workers, friends, daughter and fiancé, Laurie was a special person. She was the person you wanted to meet if you were new to a place because she always made you feel welcome. Laurie was the person who would notice if you were down and needed to talk. She always had that bright, amazing smile that lit up the room and she could always make you laugh. She was kind and friendly and thoughtful with everything and everyone. She was that driving along, windows rolled down as the sun sets, singing along to the radio type of gal … as her niece, I’ll miss those days the most. Laurie was a cornerstone in our family and every day she will be missed. We are thankful for Laurie and the privilege that God gave us by having her in our lives. We love you, Lau!!
Oakdale Memorial Chapel will have a visitation on Tuesday, November 15 from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. and funeral services on Wednesday, November 16 at 10 a.m. followed by a graveside service and a reception.
The Oakdale (Calif.) Leader
The Riverbank (Calif.) News
Nov. 16, 2022