Lee Ann and Bill as toddlers with their father

Young Lee Ann and Bill with their mom and cat Spunky

The whole family in the snow

Dad and Bill with Isaac and Zink

Lee Ann Larawaywas born in San Jose, California in 1958, long after the worst of the polio epidemic had been eradicated. Nevertheless, she contracted a severe case of polio during infancy that went undiagnosed for several years despite her family’s efforts. Lack of early intervention prevented her strength from rebuilding. As a result, she was never able to do her own physical care or push her wheelchair well, and continued to slowly lose strength throughout her lifetime.

Blessed with a supportive family and a progressive local school district, Lee Ann was allowed to attend regular school despite her very weak body in a time when most children with disabilities were sent to special schools. She went on to college, graduating from San Jose State University (SJSU) with a Master's Degree in Speech Pathology. During this time she also began using a power chair, learned to drive a highly-adapted van, and received her first CCI service dog, Isaac. With her education and newfound mobility in place, Lee Ann eventually began working for the Oak Grove School District as a bilingual speech/language therapist. While working full-time, she trained more than a dozen student teachers in her field, gave presentations and chaired committees, taught occasional classes at SJSU, and privately assessed students in other school districts. She bought and adapted her own home where she still lives independently today with the help of personal care attendants that she hires, trains, and pays for herself. She retired after 20 years of service to the Oak Grove School District for health reasons related to post-polio syndrome. She continues to do a small amount of contract work with her district in bilingual assessment and consultation each week.

Lee Ann’s education, profession, and independence manifested powerfully over the years, but her ability to find good medical help did not.The medical experiences in the first half of her life continued to be fragmented and often painfully disastrous. Finally, after she was sent away untreated from the emergency room with a food obstruction still threatening her airway, she was intuitively guided to turn her attention inward and begin navigating life more clearly from the inside out. The medical events up to this point had set the stage for a major learning curve on her part—to blend the physical world with the metaphysical world in order to consciously change and miraculously improve her medical experiences, her body‘s functioning, and her quality of life. Her physical disability has stimulated her mental quest for understanding the positive, expansive nature of life while providing her with an intense need to actively apply this knowledge on a daily basis. Lee Ann has repeatedly put to practice her faith and trust in Divine Grace to create better health and a peaceful, fulfilling life despite her very damaged body.

Lee Ann lived in San Jose, California, with her service dog, Jeannie. Using her insightful, practical knowledge of how to blend the healing energy of Divine Grace into all aspects of life, Lee Ann began holding occasional workshops in applying metaphysical concepts to everyday life. She blessed countless people with her wisdom and love before making her transition to the next life on November 30, 2012. Her obituary is below.


Lee Ann Laraway
November 19, 1958 - November 30, 2012

After a splendid, full life of 54 years, Lee Ann Laraway passed away peacefully at home on November 30 surrounded by family and friends. Lee Ann was the loving daughter of Bill and Leone Laraway and the loyal sister of her twin brother Bill. She is survived by her beloved father and her devoted brother, both of San Jose. A polio survivor, Lee Ann lived an exceptionally productive and meaningful life that profoundly and positively influenced and inspired all who knew her.

Lee Ann was one of the earliest students to be mainsreamed into regular education in the San Jose Unified School District. She attended Reed Elementary School and John Muir Junior High School and graduated from Pioneer High School. She completed her bachelor's and master's degrees in Speech and Language Pathology at San Jose State University. During her 20-year teaching career, Lee Ann specialized as a Bilingual Speech and Language Pathologist for Oak Grove School District. Recognized as a master teacher and mentor, she presented many workshops at the state, county, and local levels and consulted and assessed students in a number of school districts. Additionally, she taught classes part-time at San Jose State University and through the years trained and supervised student teachers in speech pathology. In her reirement, Lee Ann wrote Bringing Heaven to Earth: A Journey Into Grace & Gratitude, a book that chronicled how she overcame multiple physical challenges through a metaphysical perspective.

Lee Ann received one of th earliest service dogs from Canine Companions for Independence in Santa Rosa, California. For nearly 30 years, her three service dogs -- Isaac, Zinkle, and Jeannie -- served her faithfully and ensured her independence. Lee Ann was a dedicated volunteer to CCI; and while being featured on multilple occasions in both print, television, and public appearances, she brought special awareness and recognition to the importance of service dogs.

Memorial donations may be given to:

Canine Companions for Independence
P.O. Box 446
Santa Rosa, CA 95402

and

Hospice of the Valley
4850 Union Avenue
San Jose, CA 95124