Laurel Belden was born in Madera, CA on November 7, 1939 to Ernest and Lola Mastrofini. Laurie went to school in Madera, and graduated from Madera High School. She was on the Pep squad and had many friends in high school she kept for many years. Laurie then went to San Jose State University, completed her degree in education in 1961 and began teaching at Madera High School. Through one of her best friends, Dudy Lou Weis, she met Dudy’s cousin, Roger Belden. They were married August 19, 1961 at St. Joachim”s Church. In 1963, they welcomed their first child, Melissa, and soon thereafter followed Greta in 1966 and Erica. In 1967.
Laurie and Roger and their three girls lived on their ranch until 1969, when Roger became an agriculture appraiser for Bank of America and the family move to El Centro, CA. While Laurie and her family lived in El Centro, Laurie started teaching again after the girls were older at Imperial Valley College, teaching business classes. In 1972, Roger was recruited to Bank of Idaho in Boise, ID and the family moved again. While living in Boise, Laurie substituted as a teacher at the junior high level. In 1975, Roger was transferred to Idaho Falls, ID and Laurie studied speed reading in an effort to help her daughter Greta, who was diagnosed with dyslexia, read better. She was so successful with the program, she became one of their instructors. In 1977, Roger and Laurie returned to Madera and Roger started farming with Laurie’s father, Ernie. After her family was settled, Laurie started working as a business teacher for a program that taught adult women secretarial skills so that they could begin earning money for their families. She taught there for several years and made many lasting friendships. When Erica was a senior in high school, Laurie went back to teaching at the high school and worked there until 1999, including the Business Department Chair.
Laurie was an exceptional seamstress and made many of her family’s clothes. In Idaho, the winters were so much colder that Laurie made down ski outfits for the entire family. Laurie was also adept at making each new home more beautiful with paint, wallpaper, and lots of elbow grease. Her favorite part of our growing up was chatting with us about our evenings when we came home from dates or events.
Laurie is survived by her daughter Erica Henninger and her daughter Lola; and her daughter Melissa and her husband Jim, and son Joe.
A Funeral Service will be held on Tuesday, August 2, 2022 at 10 AM at Jay Chapel in Madera. Entombment at the Calvary Cemetery Mausoleum will be private for family members.
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