Laurie Lynn Richardson was born in Walnut Creek, CA, the oldest of six children. She often helped with her younger siblings, a skill-set that served her well in her decades-long career as a teacher.
From early on, Laurie had a heart for service and children, and she was active in her Lutheran church youth group in high school, taking several trips to Mexico in support of families and children in need there.
Laurie graduated with a degree in early childhood education from California Lutheran University (then CLC) in 1980 and began teaching preschool in the first of several Santa Barbara-area schools.
Laurie met her ex-husband Jim Biergiel at Justice House, located on the lower East Side of Santa Barbara, where they were housemates and a part of Los Ninos, a social justice organization that raised awareness about children and hunger in Mexico.
Laurie and Jim were excited to give birth to twin girls in 1982. Laurie moved to Goleta with her family just before her daughters began grade school, and began her 32-year career at Good Shepherd Preschool.
She also began attending Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church, where she became an active, life-long member, teaching Sunday School and Vacation Bible School, and volunteering at Transition House and Trinity Gardens.
Her faith in God was expressed by caring for her wide community, be it in prayer, feeding, clothing or teaching.
Laurie loved to travel. Lifetime highlights included Rome, taking the train to Chigaco, and any chance to explore her own country, which she loved. She was also an avid camper and continued to camp throughout her life.
Central California was particularly special to her, and she camped in Morro Bay and Cambria several times a year. She loved to dance, swim, hike and do yoga. She participated in liturgical dance groups throughout high school, college, and as a young woman.
Laurie ran many races and triathlons throughout her 20s, 30s and 40s, and rode her bike to work into her 50s. She completed a yoga teacher training course. She loved a long walk on the bluffs over the beach.
She also enjoyed the water and could swim before she could walk, making the ocean one of her favorite places.
Laurie was a prolific reader and writer throughout her life, instilling an appreciation of the written word in her daughters. She wrote poetry and journaled, and anyone close to her could count on regular cards and letters.
Celebrating retirement in May of this past year, Laurie was thrilled to travel and spend more time with her granddaughter Iris, who was the delight of her life.
Sadly and unexpectedly, Laurie passed away at the age of 60 after a brief illness on Dec. 29, 2018.
Laurie is remembered with love by her daughters Nicole (Aaron) Biergiel Laferriere and Jody (Renny) Biergiel Colclough; her granddaughter Iris; her ex-husband Jim Biergiel; her mother Shirley; her siblings Dana Hart, Erika Valdivia, Matthew, Christopher, and Katrina Richardson-Keller and their partners; and many beloved nieces and nephews.
A service celebrating her life will be held at 11 a.m. March 30 at Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church, Santa Barbara. Potluck lunch to follow. All who loved Laurie are welcome. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to KCBX, CLU, or adopting a cat.
— Nicole Biergiel