In Memory

Joanne Laws

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12/28/22 07:54 PM #1    

Barry Gordon

Dear Brian, Katherine, and Peter,


My deepest condolences for the loss of your mother,Joanne. My wife, Anna, and myself are honored to be sending a donation in both your parent's memories to the Salem Foundation. I was very fortunate to have grown up with your mother living directly across the street on Mitchell Avenue and attending NB Mills Elementary School, D. Matt Thompson Junior High, and Statesville Senior High School together. Your mother was an outstanding student and personal friend. 


 My favorite memories are during the summers we shared running barefoot with her brothers catching fireflies, riding bikes, playing board games, going to the movies, and playing records. Jerry turned us on to the Beatles and Golden Oldies. The song, “Duke of Earl” by Gene Chandler was a personal favorite. Another summer memory was the infamous bedsheet parachute jump off the house roof. Your mother was the only mature and intelligent child quietly disappearing during and after the calamity. Jerry was always kind to take me under his wing teaching the basic fundamentals of baseball, football, and basketball. He was an excellent high school basketball player and student. Jim was two years younger than your mother and I, but we always enjoyed including him. Great memories!!


Did you know your mother played basketball on our junior high team? Also, We were in the junior and senior high school bands together. Joanne played clarinet in the concert band and bagpipes in the marching Band. The band was styled after the British Grenadiers. She looked great in her bagpipe outfit with the most beautiful smile and short pixie style haircut. The band was a true melting pot of 160 players with a combination of jocks, cheerleaders, and many different religions and ethnicities. Our school was in the midst of desegregation and fortunately good examples of respect for each other were set by some outstanding teachers. Band Link:


All day long and into the evening, our neighborhood consisted of dogs and children playing everywhere outside. Your mother gave the family’s collie, Lassie, lots of hugs and brushings and sharing the same sweet and easy temperament. As you know, your mother also loved horses and spent most afternoons riding and caring for her horse throughout her junior and senior high school years. 


During his senior year, Jerry volunteered to take care of our high school mascot; a greyhound named Blue. Lassie tolerated Blue, but our male dachshund had a most serious crush.  


Did your mother encourage you to eat an apple a day? Joanne always had the willpower to eat an apple a day while the rest of our teeth decayed except maybe Jerry striving to become a dentist. 


Your grandparents were very dear to me. As parents, they were very tolerant, strict, and loving. They spent a great deal of their time with their children who always gave them respect. School work and church were primary responsibilities followed by house chores. During the 50’s and 60’s, many new and wonderful families migrated to Statesville and then joined the Catholic Church and the Law’s family were very active. On the way to Barbara’s wedding, I will never forget nervous Mr. Laws backing into one of the large bushes at their driveway entrance. Barbara was a gorgeous bride and your mother was beautiful. My family’s religion is Jewish. I will never forget spotting the Law’s family while singing the Hebrew prayers for my Bar Mitzvah. With nerves causing adrenaline to flow, I finished in record time!!


Your grandmother, Ann Laws, was very good natured and loved to laugh. I remember your grandfather, Jim Laws, as the stern disciplinarian with a soft heart and great pride for all his children. After his death, your mother and Jerry shared that they found a trove of articles he saved about each of them. Both of your grandparents treated me as part of the family; especially being included on family trips to Lake Lookout near Statesville. Your mother’s brother, Bobby, passed away before we became neighbors. It had to be devastating for the entire family to lose Bobby at such a young age. They always shared great love, and Bobby was never forgotten.


The last correspondence I had with your mother was several years ago. I will always remember the feeling of love and warmth she communicated.  


I am sincerely thankful for the lessons that I learned, the love I received, and great life examples given by the entire Laws family.

With love,

Barry Gordon

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