Laurel Judith Garber passed away peacefully at home with her beloved family by her side on February 14, 2021—an especially meaningful day full of the love of so many whose lives she touched.
Laurel was born to Paul Harris Dixon and Martha Jane (Reed) Dixon on October 6, 1940 in Newark, New Jersey. She graduated from Mansfield Senior High School in 1958 and studied paralegal and accounting at North Central State College.
After raising her children, Laurel worked as a legal secretary before becoming Richland County Court Administrator until her retirement. In 2011, she moved to The Villages, Florida, where she was a much-loved hostess—by customers and coworkers alike—at Cane Garden Country Club and Katie Belle’s.
She was admired throughout life for her style and beauty. This was highlighted in 1960 when she was named Miss Newark, Ohio and advanced to the Miss Ohio Pageant. She was equally known for her independent and hard-working spirit as anyone who worked with her will attest. She believed in miracles, and took joy in sailing and evenings out dancing with Russell. She loved true stories about overcoming hardship that have joyful endings, making hand-knit gifts of love, and preparing the world’s best spaghetti sauce, pies, chocolate chip cookies, and of course, cherry cheesecake!
Laurel is survived by her five children, Christopher Garber of Los Angeles, CA, Kelly Garber (Rebecca Meyer) of Gulfport, FL, Anne Garber of Columbus, OH, Elizabeth Sayler (Scott) of Dexter, MI, Max D Garber II (Brooke) of Mansfield, OH; six grandchildren, Logan and Emma Garber, Jillian Wirick (Eric), Luke, Paige, and Jack Sayler; her partner of 21 years, Russell Sprang, and their beloved dog, Sammy.
Laurel was preceded in death by her father Paul, grandmother Alice Reed, mother Martha, and brother Billy Decker.
Laurel was a member of the First Congregational Church in Mansfield, Ohio and Hope Lutheran Church in The Villages. Her final wishes were for her beloved family to make a trip together to Anegada of the British Virgin Islands, where they will scatter her ashes at her favorite destination, Cow Wreck Beach. Her children created an online memorial page to share details of her life with all who knew and loved her. Please join them and add your memories and photos. https://www.gatheringus.com/memorial/laurel-j-garber/6764
In lieu of flowers, donations to Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute, or to the charity of your choice, are appreciated.