A celebration of life honoring retired Army nurse Colonel Laura J. Bredemeier, 88, of Petaluma, California, is pending.
She died peacefully Thursday, Dec. 8, 2022, at Windsong senior living center in Sonoma, California.
Born Jan. 7, 1934, in Marion County, she graduated from Marion High School in 1951 and from Wesley Hospital School of Nursing in Wichita in 1954. She finished her B.S. degree in 1972 at Drury College in Springfield, Missouri.
After 10 years of civilian nursing, she joined the Army Nurse Corps and served on the front lines in the Vietnam War.
She was a highly decorated soldier during her 28 years of service. Her awards included the coveted Meritorious Service Award and the Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm.
Her many postings included Tripler, Letterman, and Fitzsimmons Army Medical Centers and in Tehran, Iran, in 1976 to ’78 as operating room supervisor.
Her last two positions were as chief nurse at Fort Ord in Monterey, California, and finally back to Letterman in San Francisco. She retired in 1990.
Laura’s love of sports was evident as a young counselor and nurse at Brown Ledge Camp in Vermont, where she also taught pyramid and slalom skiing.
In addition, she was an accomplished snow skier and instructor at Sun Valley, Idaho, and often frequented the slopes in Colorado and Lake Tahoe.
In Iran, she was a champion slow pitcher in a mixed softball league.
One of Laura’s Marion friends, Pam Harp, recently described her as “almost larger than life.”
Laura’s Petaluma friend, Joan Johnson, remarked: “That’s a good description of her. Laura swallowed life whole, and her infectious smile filled you up and made you believe in your best self. She was a deeply spiritual person who meditated for 35 years and tried to uphold the formative values of her Kansas heritage. It has been my honor and privilege to know and love her. She was my best teacher.”
Laura was a member of Unity of Marin Church in Novato, California, and was an enthusiastic attendee of various 12-step meetings for more than 42 years.
In her later years, her main hobby was acrylic painting. Lately she had developed a nice, natural singing voice.
Laura is survived by her companion, Joan Johnson; her nephews, Mike, Don, and Jim Bredemeier; her great-nephews, Jeffrey, Jon, Josh (and wife Maddie), and Jake (and wife Jessica); and her great niece, Janessa (and husband Nick).
She was preceded in death by her parents, Herb and Clara Bredemeier, and her brother and sister-in-law, Dick and Evelyn Bredemeier.