Ageless beauty Laura Lee Holmberg Conway, former 36-year Santa Barbara resident and for 28 years beloved wife of Timothy Conway, peacefully attained bodily release on 01-11-23, due to complications from a pneumonia diagnosed on 12-19-22, after decades of fibromyalgia and then sciatica pain that never dimmed her bright spirit, cheerful good humor, and deep empathy for fellow sentient beings—and delight in classic films and great music.
Laura is (tearfully) survived by husband Timothy; daughter Gabrielle Holmberg and grandchildren Diva Moon, Asher and Aaria of Sedona, AZ; and three younger sisters Elaine (Dany), Marilyn and Rachel.
Laura’s transition to Divine Spirit occurred at Verde Valley Med Center’s ICU in Cottonwood, AZ, not far from the lovely Clarkdale home near the Verde River (below Mingus Mountain) that she and Timothy joyfully settled into just six months earlier. Her ICU room during the last two weeks became a sacred space filled with the kindness, prayers and meditations of everyone near and far who loved Laura. Her generous decision decades ago to donate organs provided two persons life-saving kidneys.
Laura entered this world July 26, 1953, in Windsor, Ontario, Canada, first of five children born to Mary Nachuk (of direct Ukrainian ancestry) and Marvin Holmberg (of Swedish-Scottish-Irish descent), who began a long engineering career at Detroit’s Ford Motors. Young Laura’s passion for music of all genres and her clear, gentle voice made her the star performer in high school plays and musicals like West Side Story. At 17, she performed the ultra-demanding role of Helen Keller during the summer theater program at prestigious Cranbrook Academy of Arts in Bloomfield Hills, MI.
At Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti (where she met her lifelong soul-sister friends Elly and Karen), Laura shifted her vocation to special education—and after moving to Santa Barbara County in 1980 as a divorced mother of 3-year-old Gabrielle Krista, she soon began working at Devereux, California’s “premier provider of programs and services for adults living with emotional, behavioral and cognitive differences.” In 1986 she enjoyed two months in India at the ashram of her spiritual master Meher Baba. Laura significantly contributed to Santa Barbara when (circa 1990) she single-handedly created the first rehabilitation program for female inmates in the county’s correctional system to have better life-choices after release—and then Laura was chosen by grateful county officials to fill the prime position, earning superb evaluations. Illness cut this assignment short, and next she sold to catalogues healing light-boxes (full-spectrum) for the business run by her second husband, Ken Ceder.
When in September 1994 Laura met Timothy Conway (a longtime spiritual teacher-author in S.Barbara), love at first sight and shared interests on so many levels led to a quick engagement, a December 1995 wedding, and a honeymoon in India and Hawaii. Over the years, they adopted three cats and moved in 2008 from Timothy’s mesa condo to their San Roque area “vista house” with abounding birds, deer, and other wildlife. A major change of scenery and climate came with the couple’s move with little cat Evie in mid-2016 to Peoria’s Vistancia community in the Sonoran Desert of AZ (Phoenix Metro area’s NW fringe) to be near Laura’s aged father, daughter Gabrielle and three grandchildren, and friend Elly.
Now, after moving with Timothy to the higher, cooler environs of central AZ, this beautiful soul has departed far higher into the profoundly subtle, more glorious heavenly spheres of the Divine Beloved.
Always in our hearts, Laura’s dearest wish would be that we “love God and love one another as thy Self,” extend care to the most vulnerable in our midst, go plant-based vegan, and vote for progressive candidates to heal various injustices that afflict our society.