News

Obituary: Laurel Crittenden

Portola Valley gardener

Laurel E. Crittenden grew up in Portola Valley, taught in Portola Valley schools as a substitute teacher, and helped design gardens there from her outpost at the Ladera Garden Center, where she worked for about 10 years.

Ms. Crittenden died March 18 at her home in Washington state, relatives said. She was 58. A memorial service is set for 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, April 17, at the Valley Presbyterian Church at 945 Portola Road in Portola Valley.

Washington, D.C., was Ms. Crittenden's birthplace, and the University of California at Santa Barbara her alma mater. She graduated college in 1973 and lived in Portola Valley from 1985 to 2005, her daughter Roxanne told the Almanac.

Ms. Crittenden was a popular substitute teacher. "She filled up her calendar completely because she was so much in demand," her daughter said.

Ms. Crittenden spent a lot of time outside, whether hiking, long-distance swimming or working in gardens. She swam at the Alpine Hills Swim & Tennis Club for about 15 years, her daughter said. She also did open-water swimming in San Francisco Bay and occasionally competed in the swimming leg of triathlons.

She was "an especially devoted mother" who knitted sweaters for her young relatives and made stuffed animals for sale, her daughter said. She loved the companionship of dogs, particularly Labrador retrievers.

Ms. Crittenden is survived by her daughter Roxanne of Berkeley; and sisters Beth Schwarzman of Cape Cod, Joan Crittenden of Jackson Hole, and Susan Zoller of Portland, Oregon.

The family is asking that donations in Ms. Crittenden's memory be made to the Sempervirens Fund at 419 South San Antonio Road, Los Altos CA 94022, or to the Puget Sound Labrador Retriever Association at www.pslra.org.

Go to www.westfordfuneralhome.com to share memories of Ms. Crittenden.

Comments

Posted by JoAnn Loulan, a resident of Portola Valley: Los Trancos Woods/Vista Verde
on Mar 31, 2011 at 1:41 pm

I am so sorry to hear of Laurel's death. What a shock actually. I remember her and her beautiful daughter Roxanne as such wonderful additions to the flavor of Portola Valley. My son Gardner and Roxanne were in school at the same time and Laurel and I used to talk frequently around town and certainly at Ladera Garden Center. I was so sorry when she told me she was moving although it seemed like a good choice for her. I just hope her last days were filled with love and good stories which is what I will always remember her for. She sure loved you Roxanne, you can always have that in your memories of a wonderful mother. She will be missed.


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