Laura DeLong
Laura DeLong
Laura DeLong

Obituary of Laura DeLong

Laura Doppler DeLong, age 95, passed away peacefully after a brief illness, surrounded by her family on March 9, 2017. Born in Akeley, MN., her parents Joseph and Josephine Doppler had six children: Joseph, Laura, Helene, Mary, Frank and Charles. Often confused for twins, Laura and Helene were so close in age that for two weeks out of the year they were, in fact, the same age! Like most children of immigrants they went to school speaking the language their parents spoke at home – Alsacian, a combination of French and German. Many other children in their small school spoke German and Swedish, so as they progressed with their English they brought it home and taught their parents their adopted country’s language. Laura didn’t realize it at the time but their farm was one of the most prosperous in the area, with logging, farming and cattle all part of their income. In the summers her father often hosted dances in their barn for the families in the area, paying for the musicians and making sure everyone had a good time.

Laura left the family farm at 18, with her sister Helene, and proceeded to see the world. After secretarial school, a few of the places they lived included Minneapolis, Dayton, Seattle, and Los Angeles. One of her strongest memories was the train ride from Seattle to Los Angeles. The train passed through hundreds-perhaps thousands-of orange groves. The beautiful trees heavy with bright orange fruit was unlike anything she had ever seen.

In the early 1950s Laura came to Washington DC to work at the State Department. She made trips to England and Norway, ultimately assigned to their Paris office where she worked for three years. She met and fell in love with Army Sergeant Fred DeLong, and they married in Paris. Years later they regaled their children and grandchildren with stories about their honeymoon in Rome and Germany, and their many European adventures.

The couple relocated to Arlington, VA., in 1955. Laura didn’t see herself as a role model – but her family certainly did. At a time when a women’s choices seemed very limited, she had traveled and worked in the US as well as Europe, married when she was ready, and raised three children (Marcia, Fred Jr., and Steve). She continued to work, retiring after 26 years from the Department of Defense in 1988.

In 1965 the family moved to Sterling Virginia and that is the home they maintained until her passing. Her grandchildren all loved to hear her tell about the places she had lived and the people she met. Often while watching television she would comment “I’ve been there!” and sure enough, the streets of Montmarte in France or Tivoli Fountain in Rome became so much closer because she had been there. Her travels inspired all her grandchildren to see the world. One has travelled to the Pacific Northwest and back, some are living in Tennessee and one granddaughter has been to Spain, Sweden, Iceland and Peru! We like to say they got the “Grandma Gene”.

We all love you Mom – A bushel and a peck, and a hug around the neck!