If you suddenly feel yourself wanting to:
Sing the bass part of a barbershop song,
Walk into a Tim Horton’s and order “Coffee, Black!” and then befriend every person in the place,
Give everyone you love a gigantic bear hug,
Lay out some newspaper and blue paper towel on the kitchen table and take a small appliance apart – then clean it and put it back together,
Tie a lawnmower to a post in the middle of your backyard with a long rope and let the lawnmower mow the lawn by itself,
Recite a funny poem, stanza after stanza and captivate a room,
Invent a crazy business or solution to a problem that no one else would consider, OR
Tell someone thank you/I love you as soon as you think of it,
That makes sense.
It means that Laurence’s spirit has come close to you and is inspiring you, just as he inspired so many when his body was alive.
Laurence died May 4, 2022, at the Foothills Hospital. He was not in pain and had received very loving care from a long list of overworked, yet powerful and kind staff.
Laurence started life in London, England. He was the son of Alec and Edna Freedman and had two brothers, Stanley (deceased, wife Edna) and Harry (Jill). As a boy, he was extremely involved in the Boy Scouts. Laurence married Diane in 1962 and the two had many adventures starting their life together. The friends of that time stuck together through all the changes that would come. In 1967, Laurie and Diane moved to Calgary to make a new life for themselves and their future daughters. The two worked hard to support the family over their long life here. Laurie tried many new jobs and made so many friends along the way. Laurie and Diane loved musical theatre and were very involved in the start up of several theatre companies in the city. Their greatest involvement was with the Beth Isreal Players, playing roles from chorus to leads.
Laurie considered himself very lucky to have discovered S.P.E.B.S.Q.S.A and sang in choruses and quartets for over 40 years. So much of the family’s life was spent travelling to International Conventions and singing with hundreds of Barbershoppers! Biannual trips home to England, visits to Hawaii, camping in Edgewater, and the yearly trip to Kelowna brought so much joy. Laurie had so many friends and so much fun!
For many years, Laurence worked in people’s homes, installing appliances. He loved his work because of the connections he made with his clients and colleagues. Those connections were strong. Often, when out to dinner as a family, someone would come up to him and say, “Laurie, you installed my kitchen in 198…” Dad would come right back with, “Great to see you! How’s your daughter? Did she make it through university yet?” He loved to bring happiness to people ailing in hospital or listening to him sing or tell a joke.
After Diane’s passing in 2013, Laurie considered himself very lucky to meet Maureen Popiolek and the two shared a wonderful relationship with great times together, whether at Tim’s or travelling the world.
Laurence believed strongly in honesty. He told the truth, even when it wasn’t necessarily what one wanted to hear. The flipside of his extreme stubbornness was his conviction and will power. He quit smoking on the spot at age 17 to save his money for flying lessons. His CB Radio handle in Canada was ‘The Flying Englishman.’ A life-long contrarian, he would often say, “If everyone is doing it, it must be wrong!”
One piece of advice he has shared with so many is “Make a Decision! If it’s the wrong one, you’ll know, and you can change your mind.”
Laurence was very clear that he would choose quality of life over quantity of life, and that’s exactly what he did. He took a week to go from the energetic person we all knew to the spirit that left the body. He gave us time to adjust and tell him we loved him. He was there to ask for it to happen in the way he wanted it to happen.
Laurence is survived by his partner, Maureen, his daughters, Julie (Kenton) and Coral (Warren), four grandchildren, and many loving relatives. Now we grieve and celebrate, sharing the love from all of us and from him, which is supporting all of us.
There will not be a funeral.
There will be a celebration of life at some point in the future.