Laura Anna Root left this world to her heavenly home with Jesus on Thursday morning, Nov. 12, 2020 surrounded by her sons and lying close to Steve, her husband of nearly 73 years.
Born in 1926 in San Diego, California to William and Irma Elmer she spent her years growing up in Latah, Idaho and then Grandview, Washington. She met her husband Steve at Seattle Pacific College. Both became teachers after graduating in 1948 and 1949, respectively. Married in December of 1947, they spent many years teaching at Kodaikanal School in India where they raised their four sons. Upon their return, they resided in Battle Ground, Washington, where both Laura and Steve were active in the United Methodist Church for many years. She and Steve attended Charter Oak Community Church in their later years.
She lived an active life full of adventure and service. She relished the challenge and satisfaction of skillful homemaking through canning, gardening, sewing and even hunting. Reflected in her many artful pursuits was her love of beauty and creativity. Active and generous was her love of family, dedicating much time to sharing and passing on not only her skills but the love of the objects of her art to her numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren. All of her children and grandchildren have their walls adorned with her beautiful paintings. She was a kind and generous mother-in-law, loving all her “girls.” Philippians 2:3-4 epitomizes her servant heart, “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourself.”
Stephen Elmer Root followed Laura to be with the Lord on Wednesday, July 21, 2021. Steve was born in Yeotmal, India in 1927 where his parents served as missionaries for many years. He graduated from Seattle Pacific College after serving in the U.S. Navy at the close of WWII. After Steve and Laura left Kodaikanal School where he served as a teacher and administrator, he became an assistant superintendent of Battle Ground schools in 1973. After an early retirement, Steve was a flight instructor and in later years served as a cemetery commissioner for Clark County. In addition to his Naval Service in WWII, Steve served 31 years in the Naval Reserves, retiring in 1976 as a Lieutenant Commander. The Navy kept him until 1996 on a volunteer basis as the Naval Academy Information Officer for Southwest Washington.
Steve lived according to the duties he felt called to: in service to his family, country, and church, as an educator and community leader. After retirement, he and Laura enjoyed traveling, hunting and flying. He was generous with his time and energies in family projects and loved his role as storyteller with his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He was loyal to his country, to his family, and to Jesus Christ, his creator and savior.
Together for nearly 73 years, they were an amazing team showing hospitality and kindness. Over the years, thousands felt the warmth in their home and were recipients of their generosity. Matthew 25:35 “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in…”
Laura was preceded in death by parents William T. and Irma Lyvere Elmer, her sister Esther Ham, brother Erwin Elmer, followed by her brother Roy Elmer in May. Stephen was preceded in death by parents Elmer S. and Loretta Root, and his brothers Charles and Philip. Steve and Laura were also preceded in death by their grandson, Stephen. They are survived by their sons Rick (Gayle), Gary (Melita), Kim (Jodi), and Rob (Annette), 15 grandchildren, and 31 great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.
A celebration of life for both Laura and Steve will be held in their honor at Charter Oak Community Church on Sunday, Aug. 8, at 4 p.m. with a reception to follow.