Thursday, November 23, 2023 2:25 am
Laurel M. Gulla, 54, of Waukon, passed away peacefully surrounded by family Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2023, at WinnMed in Decorah.
Memorial services will be held Friday, Nov. 24, at 2 p.m. at Martin – Grau Funeral Home in Waukon, with Fr. John Moser officiating. Friends may greet the family one hour before the service on Friday at the funeral home. In memoriam, Laurel wishes for you to give back to the nature she loved so much; plant a tree or grow a garden. Laurel would want us to appreciate the simpler things in life.
Laurel Mary Galanda Gulla was born May 2, 1969, near Pittsburgh, Penn., the daughter of Joe and Mary Alyce (Winkler) Galanda. Laurel began her education at John F. Kennedy Catholic Elementary School in Washington, Penn. She then moved on to attend Trinity High School, also in Washington, graduating in 1987. After high school, Laurel attended Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in education in 1991. Laurel married her biggest supporter and the one who challenged her the most, Ron Gulla, on Nov. 11, 2006, at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Canonsburg, Penn. Together for 17 years, they weathered the joys and trials of life, making their homesteads in Pennsylvania and Iowa.
Laurel’s school days gave her the opportunity to explore her interest in photography as a member of the yearbook committee. She captained both the Trinity and Duquesne swim teams, specializing in the grueling distance events. Laurel satisfied her desire to educate, working as a summer camp counselor at Camp Kon-O-Kwee in Fombell, Penn. Laurel was also a member of the St. George Jr. Tamburitzans in Cokeburg, Penn., where she developed her love of travel.
Laurel was very involved with the Catholic Church. Her journey first started with being confirmed at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Washington, Penn. Many years later, she taught religious education every Sunday morning at St. Patrick’s in Canonsburg, Penn. When she moved to Waukon, she taught confirmation class at St. Patrick in Waukon.
Laurel always enjoyed the simple things in life. One of her favorite things was gardening. Every spring, she made sure there was a vegetable garden planted. Then she would preserve the various vegetables from the garden. Laurel made the best elderberry jelly around. Always found in the kitchen, Laurel was the baker in the family, a skill she passed on to her daughter Remy. Something else Laurel loved was nature, especially fall and spring; she found a lot of beauty in those seasons.
Throughout her life, Laurel worked many jobs. However, her passion for teaching and educating never left. Her most recent job was able to bring her back to her roots. Saying she was an administrative assistant at Waukon Junior High School is an understatement. She loved the job and found it very fulfilling to be involved in every aspect of the school her kids attended.
Laurel loved her family more than anything. It was that love that drove her to fight for every day. She especially loved her two kids Remy and Wyatt Gulla. She made sure she did everything she possibly could for them. They were her world.
Laurel was preceded in death by her father Joe Galanda and her brother Rick Schrader. She will be dearly missed by her husband Ron Gulla and her treasured children Remy and Wyatt Gulla of Waukon. She also leaves behind her brother Todd Schrader; sisters: Dee Mihalik (Mark), Amy Ross, Rachel Galanda-Dissell (Ryan); and many nieces and nephews, all in Pennsylvania.