Laurence Rowbotham

Obituary of Laurence Wayne Rowbotham

Laurence Wayne Rowbotham

February 20, 1945 – April 14, 2022

It is with overwhelming love and gratitude for a life well lived that Laurie’s family announces his death on April 14, 2022. He was the loving and much loved best friend, travel companion, Scrabble competitor, and duet partner of Beverley, his wife of 53 years.  He was a fishing guide, germ lecturer, story teller, belching contest judge, and adoring and adored dad to Matthew (Angela), Kate (Al), and Sara (Darryl). He was the proudest papa in every possible way of Elyssa, Claire and Carter, and Lily and Rowan.  Laurie had a special spot in his heart for Rich and Marion Rowbotham, Sharyn and Marc Joliat, Maggie and Don Smith, John and Mary Anderson, and their families.

Laurie grew up in Belleville, Ontario, in a big and boisterous family.  He regaled anyone who would listen with his adventures of tractor jumping and barn pushing, which were all the more entertaining because he laughed so hard while telling them.  He attended Western University as a music major, and also attended teacher’s college.  He started his teaching career in Kincardine, before moving to Listowel where he and Beverley started their family.

As a choral music teacher, Laurie created opportunities for his students to perform great choral works in venues across the world.  He created spaces that welcomed students for who they authentically were, focusing on trust and kindness inside the classroom and out.  Laurie was a church organist and music director from his teenage years until just a couple of years before his death.  He was the founding conductor of the Blyth Festival Singers and the Kitchener-Waterloo Philharmonic Youth Choir, and he conducted the Schneider Male Chorus for 20 years. Laurie also channeled his creativity into compositions that were performed by many choirs.  Laurie was passionate about choral music and music education, knowing that they connected people in deeply meaningful ways.

The last decade of Laurie’s life was filled with courage, determination, and grace as he dealt with numerous health challenges. Tricia Nicholson was his guardian angel nurse through this time. He received wonderful care at the Cancer Centre of Southeastern Ontario, Kingston General Hospital, and Providence Care.  In the last months of his life, he so appreciated his superstar PSWs whose graceful and tender care allowed him to be at home.  He was most lovingly and faithfully cared for during all this time by Beverley.

Laurie’s greatest legacy is the love, compassion, and kindness he shared so willingly with so many in all areas of his life, which will continue to bring joy to those who loved him.

A visitation will be held in the Lower Hall of Edith Rankin Memorial United Church in Kingston, Ontario on Saturday, April 30 from 2-4pm.  Masks and double-vaccinations are expected.  Memorial donations may be made to the Cancer Centre of Southeastern Ontario through the University Hospitals Kingston Foundation.

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