On May 27th 1955, in High Prairie Alberta, Laurie was born into the arms of Jean and Al Cerenzie. He came from a very modest background and was the first of nine children to begin filling the Cerenzie home with laughter, mischief, and at times, chaos.
As a boy, Laurie was masterful at leading his younger brothers into some dangerous situations with bows and arrows being shot straight into the air while they waited. Heads ducked, with or without a garbage can lid held over them, as the arrows whizzed past them, violently stabbing the ground around their feet. Then there was the time they all lost their eyebrows and eyelashes… oh yes it was Laurie, with a gas can and the burn barrel; well as you can imagine, there was a wild explosion!! and everyone involved got a good licking with Dad’s belt. That lesson learned, they also played Cowboys and Indians, and Laurie of course was the Cowboy with the lasso! In one well told story, he caught one of his younger brothers around the neck, lifting his feet clear off the ground like a calf as Laurie hollered something from his favorite Cowboy Comic Book. These stories have frequented our ears over the years, and each time bringing more uproarious laughter into the room. One thing is for sure, being a younger brother to Laurie could potentially be a serious health hazard, but that didn’t stop those boys from following their fearless leader time and time again.
Speaking of being a leader, in his teens Laurie excelled at basketball, winning many trophies and earning the respected title of captain of his team. Later in life he dabbled in many types of sports: curling, cross country skiing, hiking, and archery, but the sports that he loved most of all and couldn’t live without were fishing and hunting… the only two SEASONS in the year that mattered. He became an avid fisherman, and he brought home wild game every fall. This would sustain his family for the next year while he was anxiously counting the months ‘till he could do it all over again!
From childhood to adulthood, there was no denying that Laurie was a team player and a natural leader, and both attributes became an integral part of his future career in the forest industry, where he was loved and respected by everyone he worked with from his humble position pulling lumber on the greenchain at 17, to his many positions in Management prior to his passing.
Laurie loved and valued family, building a place where we could keep busy and happy – our Cabin – which quickly became our absolute favorite holiday destination, out there in the middle of nowhere.
Fact is that Laurie will always be fondly remembered as the happy go lucky, totally entertaining, singing and guitar playing, fun loving, wild and crazy-big-fire-building, moon howling, and very adorable neighbor, friend and co-worker.
He was a wonderful son to his father and an even more wonderful father to his son. He was a precious friend and husband. He taught us to fish, make whistles out of willows, build fires that would bring friends by, hunt for our food and make delicious jerky. We learned the value of being together and making that time quality time.
We learned to smile even through the toughest days, and laughed the clouds away. We learned that rainbows come from even the worst circumstances, and that if we stay true to ourselves, we will always make the best decisions.
This is what HE knew for sure:
Every time we sat with him at his bedside, we loved him.
Every day we stood his watch and cared for him, we loved him. Every moment we felt his pain and cried with him, we loved him. Every day we made him smile and laughed with him, we loved him. Every night we said our prayers together, holding hands, crying, smiling, we loved him. Every time we sang to him, cheering him on, we loved him. WE LOVED HIM, every moment of every day.
Laurie had an amazing staff of caregivers at Kelowna General Hospital who loved him dearly. He knew them well and trusted them. They grew to feel like our extended family and helped us throughout the whole hospitalization.
On bad days they came with compassionate hugs, and sometimes tears. On good days they were full of optimism and praise for a day well spent, saying things like, “you are so strong, you are the most amazing family.” It was words like that that kept us going day after day, during the hardest of times, the most difficult of days; they were Laurie’s angels, and our family was loved and safe in their arms. They did everything they possibly could for him.
Letting someone go who is such a presence in our life – NOT something we should ever have to do. We were blessed to be with him when he passed away. He let us know when it was time for him to leave. He left us knowing that he would be just fine, and so would we.
Laurie taught us that we are strong and resilient family; that love can move mountains but it cannot change God’s plans.
After a lengthy illness, Laurie passed away peacefully in his hospital room, with his devoted family by his side.
Grandpa (Big Bear)
Our precious Grandbaby Rayna has come into the world strong and beautiful just like her Mama and Papa. She’s got Grandma’s determination and Grandpa’s wonderful spirit which shines brightly through her adorable little eyes. She will always know how you loved and cherished her even before she was born. She will know you well Grandpa… that’s a promise from us all!
We will miss you today, tomorrow, always and forever, and we will speak your name with love and enormous pride. You may be gone but you will always be with us in our hearts, in our lives, and in every family tradition.
With all of our hearts,
your loving family
Donna, Jason, Ruthie and Baby Rayna.
Our family would also like to say that we are very grateful for everyone’s love and support during this extremely difficult and painful time. Thank You from the bottom of