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Laura Reisman Viise, 54, died on October 17, 2023, at her home in Oak Park after a three-year battle with Glioblastoma. Born Laura Wynne Reisman on September 22, 1969, in Southampton, New York, Laura was a woman of strong faith. A brilliant student who graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, Laura initially pursued a graduate degree at Dartmouth University but transferred to Northwestern University when she moved to Chicago to marry her husband, John. Laura and John were married on April 23,1994 in Wilmington, Delaware. Laura ultimately received her graduate degree in Molecular Biology and proceeded to pursue work in her field.
Laura loved earnestly and possessed an authenticity that allowed her to connect with others quickly. She never met a baby she didn’t hold and love and when her oldest Gus was born in 1999, she decided to pursue a career in a role she adored more than molecular biologist, full-time mother. Laura was baptized alongside her son Gus at Good Shepherd Lutheran in Oak Park on January 9, 2000, and in time Laura and John had three more sons: Lars, Darrell and Hans. Laura believed the evidence of God’s existence was all around us and her scientific training only enhanced that belief. She did not make major decisions in life without thoughtful reflection.
Laura loved music and attending live concerts and her mind was packed with a ridiculous number of lyrics from artists like Bob Seger, The Eagles, Tom Petty, Pink Floyd, Stevie Wonder, and her fellow Long Islander Billy Joel. Laura also enjoyed travel. As a junior in high school, she spent a Rotary Exchange Student Year Abroad in Belgium where she learned French. Between high school and college, Laura spent a year with her parents in Vienna where she learned German. She was thrilled when her family moved to London for John’s work in 2001-2003 as this afforded her more opportunities to travel, use her foreign language skills, and to even re-connect with her host family in Belgium.
Laura cherished time with extended family. This time included annual summer vacations back home to Southampton and the water and to the Viise family farm in northeast Iowa. She was the outgoing and fun Aunt Laura to a multitude of nieces and nephews. Laura was employed at Dominican University as a clinical rotation coordinator for the physician assistant program when she became ill.
The world was a brighter place with her in it.
Laura is survived by her immediate family including her husband, John; her sons, Gus, Lars, Darrell, and Hans; her father and mother, Howard and Ann; and her brothers, Douglas(Laurie) and James (Jessica); all who lament her loss. Donations in her memory can be made to the Northwestern Lou and Jean Malnati Brain Tumor Institute (link below):
or to the renovation of the Tupper Boathouse into a North Sea Maritime Center (link below). The existing boathouse is located next to her beloved family home in Southampton.
There will be a family and friends’ visitation on Friday October 27, 2023, from 4pm-9pm and a Celebration of Laura’s Life on Saturday October 28, 2023, at 10am. Both events will be at the Village Church of Oak Park at 911 S. Taylor Avenue. A luncheon will follow the Saturday service. Info. 708-366-2200 or www.ZimmermanHarnett.com.
Lou and Jean Malnati Brain Tumor Institute
North Sea Maritime Center