Laura Henehan

Obituary of Laura Stephanie Henehan

Laura Stephanie Henehan—beloved mother, wife, sister, grandmother, and friend—passed away at home in the arms of her family in the early morning hours of October 26, 2019, after a long and hard-fought battle with cancer.

Born Laura Marzoli in Milan, Italy, in 1950, she immigrated as a child with her family to Queens, NY, where she quickly gained fluency in English and distinguished herself as a student, going on to graduate with honors from Hunter College. A lifelong beauty, she caught the eye of Fergus in the checkout line of her local grocery store when the two were teenagers; the couple married when Laura was 20 and embarked on what would turn out to be just the first of their many shared adventures over the course of a half-century together when they packed up one grim NYC winter to move to the Caribbean nation of St. Maarten—a relocation that set the stage for a peripatetic twenty-year spell until they settled at last in the Bay Area in 1991. Along the way, Laura became mother to two cherished daughters, Kira and Caitlin, to whom she devoted the lion’s share of her time and attentions and who blessed her in turn with three spectacular granddaughters. She never let more than a few days pass without speaking with those family members she’d left behind in the northeast, her sisters in particular, with whom she remained terrifically close till her very last breath.

Laura will be remembered for her range of interests and occupations, including many years working with Guide Dogs for the Blind and as a paralegal with Lieff Cabraser, but mostly she will be remembered for her exceptional ability to listen, to empathize, to advise, to comfort—to mother, really, not only her own children but her entire extended family and close circle of friends. It was often joked that Laura’s photo would suffice as a concise definition alongside the word “mother” in any dictionary, and indeed, she relished being needed, rushed to lend a hand or an ear, delighted in sending a note through the mail to brighten a loved one’s day…and her loved ones’ days will be far, far emptier in her absence.

Laura is preceded in death by her parents, Enrica and Armando Marzoli; her mother-in-law, Elizabeth Henehan; her half-brothers Sergio and Paulo Marzoli; her sister-in-law and dear friend Mary Deidre Henehan; and her younger sister Chris Lavelle, who one imagines has been waiting with some impatience, Scrabble board in hand, for Laura’s eventual arrival.

She is held aloft in the memories of the many friends she collected along the way in each of the cities she lived; a host of nieces and nephews; her godchildren John Heart and Ashley Lavelle, alongside their respective families; her brother, Joseph Marzoli; her half-sister Gabriella Marzoli; her sisters-in-law Betsy McGoey and Arlene Castellano alongside their respective families; her cousin Giancarlo Marullo and wife Franca; her brother-in-law Dean Fanucci; her dear sisters and best friends Debra Fanucci and Kim Sperandeo; her sons-in-law Brett Martin and Michael Keohane; her doting daughters, Kira Henehan and Caitlin Keohane; her adored and adoring grandchildren Clio, Tuesday, and Sophia; and her ardently dedicated husband of what would have been fifty years next August, Fergus Henehan.

Laura’s life will be honored in a private ceremony for immediate family only and her remains interred at a family site in New Jersey.

Remembrances in the form of donations in her name to her preferred charity, a fund dedicated to finding a cure for the GIST cancer that plagued her final years: would warm the hearts of her family members and honor her battle. May she rest now in peace, free of pain and limitation, her expansive essence at last untethered and able to embrace every soul she held dear, near and far, for all of eternity.

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