Obituary of Angelica K. Laird
Angelica King Laird
A Wonderful Life
Angelica Laird, in her 100th year, passed away peacefully on February 6, 2021 at The Oaks in Denville, New Jersey.
“Angie,” or “Gel,” was born Angelica Van Vranken King in Easton, Pennsylvania, on November 26, 1921 (frequently Thanksgiving, all the better for family celebrations!), the third child of Dr. Morland King, a revered professor of Electrical Engineering at Lafayette College and his wife, Angelica Olmstead King, a highly accomplished painter and the official photographer of visiting dignitaries at Lafayette.
Angie grew up in a stately house on the green of the Lafayette campus. She often remarked that it was awfully convenient, as she started dating, to have the Delta Upsilon (DU) fraternity right next door and the opportunity to choose from all of the all-men’s school.
Angie fell in love with Joe Laird, a classic Lafayette “Big Man on Campus,” captain of the powerhouse Leopard football team and President of DU and the Interfraternity Council. They were married on June 12, 1943, in the college chapel, the beginning of an extraordinary 54-year relationship, which Angie recently described as “a wonderful life.”
Her first child, Jed, was born in 1945 in Easton while Joe, a U.S. Navy officer, was in the Pacific, fighting in World War II. After Joe’s return from Okinawa, the new family moved to Chatham, NJ, and by the time they moved to Cranford, NJ, two more boys (Jeff and John) were part of the family.
In 1957, the family moved to a newly built house in Bel Air, Maryland, where Joe and Angie began a twenty-five year run until retiring in 1982 to Cape May, NJ. Their early time in Bel Air (1960-67) was focused on the three boys and Bel Air High School athletics, particularly football, always played under “Friday Night Lights,” where Joe and Angie never missed a game, home or away. The Maryland Golf and Country Club, Christ Our King Presbyterian Church, and the Maryland Asphalt Association (Joe’s trade association) all provided activities and friends to make for an attractively busy life.
Retirement to Cape May, NJ, in 1982 turned down the busy-ness and introduced a new lifestyle focused on the ocean, the beach, skee-ball, the First Presbyterian Church, and the single most beautiful rose bush in America.
Joe passed away in 1997 and Angie (now known by many as “Grammy”) moved to The Oaks in Denville, NJ, in 1998, where she began a wonderful stay for over 20 years. The Oaks’ facilities, staff and residents provided a perfect setting to extend her life right up to her 100th year.
Angelica’s longevity and happiness were grounded in three elements of her DNA:
1) Disciplined -- She weighed herself every day, balanced her check book every month, only drank one glass of white zinfandel a week (and one Reese's cup) and always took her coupons to Shop-Rite;
2) Organized -- Her file cabinets were immaculate to the end, as were her memory books from the 1940s right up to today, her cooking utensils were all right where they belonged and her change of seasons decor (from HomeGoods, her favorite place to shop) was always calendar appropriate;
3) Appearances Mattered -- She had a standing beauty parlor appointment at 10:30am on Friday, her two huge walk-in closets had the most extensive and immaculate selection of clothing, almost all from Macy's, her second favorite store, and finally, she was never without her bright red lipstick, Maybelline #875 "Vivid Rose."
All of the above made Angelica the complete package!
Angelica, aka Grammy, leaves behind three generations of thriving families, including:
• Joseph Edward (“Jed”) Laird, Jr. (Franklin & Marshall ’67, Wharton MBA ’69; Mendham and Bay Head, NJ) and his wife Christine Balcius Laird
• Jeffrey Allan (“Jeff”) Laird (Rutgers ’68, Illinois Technology, Architecture ‘75; Estancia, New Mexico) and his wife Flo Laird
• John Christopher Laird (Duke ’71; RV travels from Marathon, FL to Croton on Hudson, NY) and his wifeLucy Haislip
Six grandchildren and eleven great grandchildren (all Jed’s):
• Joseph E. Laird, III, aka “Trey” (Dartmouth ’93; New Canaan, CT; mom DeeDee Lindh), his wife Kate Whitaker Laird, and his children Brooke (Middlebury ’22) and Joseph E. Laird, IV, aka “Teddy” (Wake Forest ’25) with Jen Savarese Laird, and Thomas Hunt aka “Tucker” and Madeline with Kate;
• Catheryn Angelica Charner-Laird, aka “Katie” (Swarthmore ’96, Berkeley, Harvard; Wellesley, MA; mom DeeDee Lindh), her wife Megin Charner-Laird, and their children Quinn (Smith ’25) and Wiley;
• Andrew Morland Laird, (Villanova ’03; Milford, CT;mom Jo Anne Cardona Laird), his wife Katie Belcher Laird, and their children Jack, Violet Angelica, and Lucy;
• Edward Morgan Laird, aka “Morgan” (Connecticut College ’06, Santa Clara Law; Brooklyn, NY; mom JoAnne Cardona Laird), his wife Jessica Swain Laird, and their children Tallulah (aka “Lulu”) and Ellery;
• Emily King Laird (Georgetown Nursing ’23; Mendham and Bay Head, NJ and Washington, DC; mom Christine Balcius Laird);
• Alexandra Christine Laird (Elon Education ’24; Mendham and Bay Head, NJ and Elon, NC; mom Christine Balcius Laird)
Although we’re sad to lose her, we’re all grateful for theextraordinary abundance of memories we shared across the 100-year arc of Angelica’s self-proclaimed “wonderful life.”
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