OGDENSBURG -- Funeral Services for Laurel B. Roethel, age 90, will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, Jan 11, 2018 at St. Mary’s Cathedral by Rev. Richard Sturtz and Rev. Lawrena Wickham Will. Burial will be in the spring at St. Mary’s Cemetery.
Calling hours will be held on Wednesday, Jan 10th from 12 – 2 p.m. and 4 - 7 p.m. at the Fox & Murray Funeral Home. Mrs. Roethel passed away on Saturday, Jan 6, 2018 at the St. Joseph’s Home surrounded by her loving family.
Surviving are her children, Blair Roethel and his companion Liane Seguin, Laurel Lee Roethel and her husband Raymond Cutway of Ogdensburg, and Rhonda Roethel and her partner Marsha Snyder of Lisbon; grandchildren Justin, Ryan and Alec Roethel; step-grandchildren Ashley Durham, Raymond Cutway II, Kyle Cutway, Nikki Jones, Bobbi Jo Taylor, Dayna Butts, Stephanie Ensor, Christinne Seguin and Jessica Lynn Depatie; great-grandchildren Karsen Roethel, Riley Durham, Jace Durham, Nate Cutway, Luna Cutway and Daisey Cutway; nieces Bonnie Thompson Snow, April Oliveria, nephew Lyndon Pressler, and the Leigh Thompson, Richard Bice, Lawrence Bonville, Donald Brouse, and Keith Shaver families, and all her Roethel Family in-laws in the Rochester area.
Laurel was predeceased by her husband, Thomas G. Roethel on Dec 31, 1987 and a son, Thomas G. Roethel Jr. at birth.
She was born on April 9, 1927 in Ogdensburg NY, a daughter of the late William & Dorothy (Bonville) Blair. She graduated from Ogdensburg Free Academy in 1945 and continued her education at the Ogdensburg Business School and later at the SUNY State University of NY where she earned her teaching certification.
On August 2, 1952 she married Thomas G. Roethel at St. Mary’s Cathedral. During her career she was a teacher at the St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center for a short time and later went to work at the Ogdensburg Trust Company, where she was proud to be in charge of the money vault and was the secretary to Robert McEwen, the Bank President.
She later went to work for Alice Mastic at the Ogdensburg Business School, and purchased the school in the early 60’s, moving the school to 515 Ford Street and opening Roethel’s Ogdensburg Business Institute. Mrs. Roethel also purchased Mohawk Valley Business School in Utica, New York and moved that business and equipment to her 515 Ford Street location. For nearly 20 years she operated the school and taught hundreds of student as far away as New York City. She was extremely proud that she was able to help so many people get an education and find good jobs, especially with two of her students going on to become prominent St. Lawrence County Judges.
Laurel was also fluent in French and taught French classes at night at OFA and St. Lawrence University. When Tom became ill with Cancer in 1980 they made the decision to sell the business and equipment to Mater Dei College, and sold the building to their long time friend ,Peter Galvin, for his beauty salon.
Tom and Laurel also purchased the Ogdensburg Lighthouse from the United States Government in 1964. The structure was not livable, there was no water, electricity, telephone, and Tom and Laurel worked on restoring the structure until the time of Mr. Roethel’s death in 1987. Their son Blair, finished the renovations on the lighthouse and now uses it as a family home. Laurel was so happy to be able to re-light the tower of the lighthouse with permission from the United States Congress as a tribute to her late husband in 2011.
In the mid 60’s, Laurel and Tom, along with Laurel’s mother, “Mrs. Blair,” also founded Roethel’s Executive Drum and Bugle Corps, a Northern NY all girl champion band. During its existence it drew over 2000 young ladies as members. The Roethel’s knew they needed to transport these girls to parades and shows to they started Roethel Coach Lines and took the Drum Corps all over the country. No child was ever turned away, and Laurel and Tom equipped the band and purchased the buses without asking for any financial assistance. The Drum Corps sadly disbanded upon Tom becoming ill.
In 1970 Laurel was urged by her long-time friends NYS Assemblyman Dan Haley, County Legislator Al Rishe, and City Mayor Jack Byrnes to run for public office at a time when women didn’t do that sort of thing. She first ran for St. Lawrence County Treasurer and later ran for the New York State Senate citing her three children as her main reason for entering the race, to make a better place to raise them.
In the early 1980’s Laurel and Tom purchased R&M Auto Parts and opened Roethel Auto Parts at 1801 Ford Street where they expanded their business to Roethel Tours and took thousands of passengers on bus trips throughout the U.S and Canada. Upon Tom’s Death, Laurel and daughter Laurel Lee continued to operate the Coach Lines and Tour business for over 20 years. Laurel Lee, and her sister, Rhonda still operate family businesses at their 1801 Ford Street Building.
Laurel lived in her Patterson Street home from the time she was 2 years old until the age of 87 when she entered St. Joseph’s Home. Laurel loved all the staff of St. Joseph’s as if they were her family.
Laurel was a very kind and giving person, and no one that ever came to her for help went away empty handed. She was a driving force and pillar of strength for many people even in the worst of time, and her generosity, support, and commitment to the Ogdensburg Community will never be forgotten.
Laurel was a member of the Knight of Columbus Auxiliary and St. Mary’s Cathedral Parishioner. She enjoyed eating out, traveling, going to church, shopping, painting and being with her family.
Memorial contributions can be made to the Ogdensburg Veterans Memorial Fighter Jet Project at the St. Lawrence Federal Credit Union at 333 State Street, Ogdensburg, NY 13669, in honor of Laurel Roethel.
Condolences can also be shared online at www.foxandmurrayfuneralhome.com.