Laura Sword

Died: Wed., Jan. 14, 2015


Celebration of Life

11:00 AM Sun., Jan. 25, 2015
Location: Drewsey Community Hall


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Music by The Piano Brothers



Laura Jean (Jordan) Sword, born March 16, 1957, passed away on Wednesday, January 14, 2015. As the morning sun first peeked through the curtains, surrounded by family and cloaked in the prayers of innumerable friends, Laura went on to be with Jesus. Fighting with faith, strength, and dignity, she inspired, and continues to inspire many people. Her life was filled with both challenges and triumphs, but primarily, it was filled with love.

Laura was raised on a ranch in Westfall, Oregon. With six brothers and no sisters, she learned early to be tough or be quiet. She attended Harper High School and, in 1974, married William Ross. In 1979, Bill and Laura welcomed a daughter, Sabrina, and in 1981, they were blessed with their second daughter, Cheyenne. The couple lived in various places throughout Oregon and divorced in 1988.

In the late 1980s, Laura worked at Safeway and quickly rose to a management position. One day an old friend, Drewsey rancher John Sword, stopped by her office. After a brief courtship, the two were married and started what would become a legendary team. Laura and the girls moved out to the ranch, where she happily became a second mother to John's children, Joelene and Zach.

Laura truly loved raising cattle. She loved calving, she loved haying, she loved buckarooing, she loved branding, and she loved picking replacement heifers. During calving season, she devoted her life to checking on her mamas and babies. More than one unsuspecting neighbor has stopped by in the late afternoon to find her still wearing her nightgown under her coveralls. She was a Cattlewomen's president, 4-H leader, and was one of two ranch women featured in the documentary “Harney.” She and John were also honored with the Harney County Chamber of Commerce Grassman of the Year award.

Laura loved to work and succeeded at everything she tried her hand at, except for maybe swimming, she always said that she floated like a rock. She was secretary of the Van Grazing Co-op, secretary of the Rancher's Horse Sale, a part-time bookkeeper, she filled in at the post office, she beautified Harney County with her love of furniture restoration, interior renovation and organization, and she threw the best parties in the Drewsey Valley. She did all this and still managed to attend almost every sporting event in which her children and grandchildren competed.

One of Laura's favorite things was spending time with her grandchildren. She could often be found in a tractor or on a four wheeler with at least one grandchild, teaching him or her about machinery, cattle, ranching and life. Laura also loved making elaborate birthday cakes with her grandkids, and taking them on adventurous picnics out in the sagebrush and juniper.

Laura leaves behind her husband, John Sword; children, Joelene and Arnie Peasley, Zach and Tamara Sword, Sabrina and Tom Schaefer, and Cheyenne and Jake Fowler; grandchildren, Derrick Peasley, Andrew Peasley, John Michael Sword, Tate Sword, Maggie Schaefer, Carter Peasley, Lillie Schaefer, JohnRoss Fowler, GradyJay Fowler, and Isaac Schaefer; and numerous other family and friends.
A well-attended celebration of her beautiful life took place at the Drewsey Community Hall on Sunday, January 25, 2015. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that contributions be made to the Laura Sword Memorial Fund, located at US Bank.

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Condolence Booklet

Charlie & Lorna
   Posted Tue January 20, 2015
John, I don't know what to say other than she will be missed by all of us who knew her, both of you were and still are very special to us. We will always remember the dual anniversary dinners at The Pine Room on May 30th. Take care my friend, may god watch over you.

Lester Sue McBain
   Posted Thu January 22, 2015
So Sorry to Hear about the Loss of Your Loved One Laura

Glenda Mendiola
   Posted Fri January 23, 2015
So very sorry for your loss, gone too soon. Dennis and Glenda Mendiola

Nancy A Nielsen
   Posted Wed August 15, 2018
I met Laura in Bend, Oregon. I was the bakery manager and Laura was a store manager trainee. We hit it off and became fast friends. Laura was strong willed and a very hard worker. We both were and often talked about the struggles of working in a male dominated setting.
I transferred to Portland. Laura to Burns, where she became the assistant store manager to Safeway. We both made it to the top in our chosen fields.

We lost contact as I moved to Arizona and left Safeway. But once again touched base when I moved back to Eugene, Oregon.

The last time I talked with Laura I knew that she had cancer but was fighting the battle. She told me that she would go into Bend for treatment and therapy. The Therapy helped her greatly.
She then told me something amazing. Laura said that the Lady who was her therapist asked her if she had a red horse. Laura said, well I did but he passed on a few years ago.
He was my favorite horse.
The lady said: Well that horse is here with you now and he is with you wherever you go.

WOW! I cried when Laura told me this.

Sorry for taking so long to write. I kind of had the feeling she was gone but just was not ready to face it.

Laura was my friend. Laura was my compadre at a time when I was pushing hard to make it up the corporate ladder. We both came up short but it was not for a lack of trying.

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