Laurie was born January 28, 1946, in Boston, MA, to Stanley and Eleanor Levenson. After living outside Washington, DC, the family moved to Rye, NY, and Laurie graduated from Rye High School in 1963. She attended Stanford University in Palo Alto, CA, and graduated with her B.A. in 1967.
During her study abroad program at Stanford in Paris, Laurie met the love of her life, Gary, and they were married the summer after graduation in August, 1967. They lived on Guam, where Laurie taught fourth grade, Ann Arbor, MI, and Marlborough, MA, before settling in Chapel Hill in 1974. They raised two sons, Brian and Todd. Once both were in school full time, Laurie chose to go back to school herself, attending the University of North Carolina School of Law beginning in the fall of 1980.
During law school, she provided one of the greatest examples of her dedication and persistence. Shortly after the first semester of her already challenging 1L year, Laurie suffered two broken arms after being hit head-on in a car accident. One of her sons was also seriously injured. While that would have stopped most people, Laurie was undeterred. She took a short leave to recover and care for her children, and then returned to law school to earn her J.D. in 1984.
After graduating from law school, Laurie devoted her 35-year career to the University of North Carolina. She was a long-time faculty member at the School (formerly Institute) of Government, where she specialized in public school law. She worked in the Office of the Provost from 1996-2000, chaired the Performance Management Review Board, served as advisor to SPA grievance panels, and was a member of the Faculty Grievance Committee, Faculty Executive Committee, and Faculty Council. When Carolina opened an Ombuds office to address a need for conflict and dispute resolution within the University, Laurie was the first Faculty Ombuds, and she remained in that role for the rest of her career.
Throughout her years at Carolina, Laurie served as a valued confidant, advisor, mentor, counselor, friend, and, the role she enjoyed most, champion for others. She cherished that role in her personal life as well, and was always a devoted and supportive wife, mother, mother-in-law, and grandmother. In addition to her family, Laurie loved the beach, the Carrboro Farmers Market, and swimming laps at the UNC Faculty-Staff pool, making it her goal each summer to swim the number of laps equal to her age. She capped the goal at one mile, which she impressively achieved at age 73 shortly before becoming sick in 2019. Each year, Laurie invited new members of the community – friends and strangers – to join other friends and family at her house for Thanksgiving dinner.
Laurie is survived by her husband Gary, sister Toby, sons Brian and Todd, daughters-in-law Sally and Kate, and her beloved grandchildren Anna, Claire, Eleanor and Milo. The family thanks the doctors, nurses and staff at Duke’s Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center and Carol Woods Retirement Community who provided excellent care to Laurie, as well as the many colleagues and friends who have offered their time and support over the past 19 months, in particular sharing all of the wonderful stories and kind words about Laurie.