Cover photo for Laura Schall Gouillart's Obituary
Laura Schall Gouillart Profile Photo
1953 Laura 2018

Laura Schall Gouillart

December 24, 1953 — November 15, 2018

Laura Schall Gouillart was called home on November 15, 2018 from her home in Concord, Massachusetts at the age of 64. She was the beloved wife of Francis J. Gouillart; the beloved mother of Emily F. Gouillart of Washington DC and Gregory D. Gouillart of Boston MA; the beloved sister of Kathy Jarvis of Palo Alto, CA; of Vicki Escalera of South Kingstown, Rhode Island and her husband Dwight; and of Martha Czaczkes of Madison, CT and her husband Murray; and the beloved cousin of Katherine Clark, John Clark, Rodney Dowell, Addison Dowell, Jared Dowell and Nate Dowell. She was pre-deceased by her brother-in-law J. Pitts Jarvis, and her parents Susanne Southerton Schall and Ned Schall. She was a proud and attentive aunt to Benjamin Jarvis, Verity Jarvis, Kate White Lewis, David Escalera, Elizabeth Escalera, Josh Czaczkes, Emmanuelle Gouillart, Marc-Antoine Gouillart, Vincent Gouillart, Nicolas Gouillart, Juliette Luquet, Clara Luquet,
Louise Luquet, Virginie Bédrune, and Marielle Bédrune.

She was a star of the local community theater firmament, playing countless leading ladies, and was especially associated with the works of Gilbert and Sullivan. Favorite roles included Katisha in The Mikado, The Duchess of Plaza-Toro in The Gondoliers, and the Fairy Queen in Iolanthe, in which she shared the stage with her daughter Emily who played the title role of Iolanthe. During the climactic scene where the Fairy Queen holds a sword over Iolanthe's head to kill her, the normally even-keeled Laura stormed off the stage, shouting "This is ridiculous! I'm not decapitating my daughter!" and holding back tears, a moment her daughter will always remember fondly and a little mischievously.

She was a devoted mother who stayed home to raise her two children and drive them to music lessons, soccer practices, and chaperone them on field trips. After years grappling with how to raise an exceptional child before autism was well-understood, and expecting that her son would need institutional care for his whole life, she fought tooth and nail to get him into an extraordinary therapeutic school and watched with unmitigated joy as the silent, unusual child her son was for the first five years of his life blossomed into a fully independent, bright, funny, and talkative young man. When so many other mothers around her received the same news of their children's prognosis, she became a mentor and advisor to them, coaching them on how to get through the weepy stunned early days and to become an advocate for their children.

She spoke English, French and Spanish. She had impeccable grammar, perfect manners, a mildly wicked sense of humor, and she treated you with kindness and respect every time she saw you. You were always welcome at her home, and she would always prefer that you stay for dinner. She beat cancer four different times, and in the end not a single one of them could fell her. She was a Phi Beta Kappa scholar and a graduate of Wellesley College (BA) and the University of Chicago (MA in Art History). Upon starting graduate school, a part of her hoped to be swept off her feet by a handsome Spaniard for her happily ever after, but instead she met a skinny, nerdy French farm boy named Francis in a suit coat and shorts and wearing socks and sandals; they were married for 41 wonderful years. Their wedding day was a rainy, poorly photographed wash-out and few of their anniversaries weren't anything to write home about, but their marriage was as powerful and strong as the sun.

Five months before her death, she saw her daughter Emily return to Washington, DC, the home of her dreams, and resume a life and career that brought her joy after surviving a painful five years of deep depression. Many in her family have noted that this seems to have been the final step in getting her house in order; with two happy adult children living independently and proudly and out loud, with a large family and community of loved ones, and with a theatrical resume that Helen Mirren would envy, she spent her final week speaking in prophecies and sitting contentedly with a smile on her face, knowing that her work was nearing completion. Only she could have accomplished so much in such a short time, and she died proud, confidently, and blessedly without pain.

She will be forever remembered; through the recordings of her beautiful mezzo soprano voice, through the smell of meatloaf at a family gathering, and in the hearts of all who crossed her path. She was a force greater than anything on this earth, and will be loved eternally.

Family and friends will gather to honor and remember Laura on Saturday, November 24 at 11:00 am in the Trinitarian Congregational Church, 54 Walden St., Concord. Interment will be private.

Donations in her memory may be made to:
51 Walden, Inc.
51 Walden St.
Concord, MA 01742
Trinitarian Congregational Church
54 Walden St.
Concord, MA 01742

Service Schedule

Past Services

Celebration of Life

Saturday, November 24, 2018

11:00am - 12:00 pm (Eastern time)


54 Walden St, Concord, MA 01742

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