Laurel, 83, of Charlotte, died Saturday. She was the first daughter of Wilbur and Marcella (Batsche) Starr. She spent her early childhood on a country farm where she learned frugality in a nation recovering from the Great Depression.
Her family moved to Charlotte while she was in fifth grade where she met Joe Pray who years later would become her husband.
Laurel attended Michigan State University and in 1951, received her Michigan Funeral Directors License. She worked alongside her husband Joe at the Pray Funeral Home, becoming an integral part of the family business.
In 1963, Laurel talked her father and brother into building the family cottage in Northern Michigan. It quickly became the family's favorite place to retreat.
Laurel loved to travel, especially to the Caribbean and Colorado with friends; gardening in her gardens around her home and funeral home; sewing, and shopping. She enjoyed finding those out of the way places to shop whether it was a dusty antique store in northern Michigan, or a wide spot on the jungle trail in Chile. Laurel became known as the consummate hostess for family and friends during the Holidays, Christmas, Fourth of July, and Charlotte Frontier Days.
Laurel will be remembered by many for her community involvement, including Camp Fire Girls, Jaycees Auxiliary, Christmas Kiddies, GFWC- Charlotte for over 50 years, Charlotte Library Board, and St. Mary Church, where she was a founder of the St. Mary School.
Laurel is survived by her husband of 62 years, Joseph, their daughter Teresa (Michael) Dougherty of Frankfort IL, son Joe E. (Lori) Pray of Charlotte, grandchildren Tyler (Dana) Pray and McLain Pray; her siblings Jerry (Fern) Starr, Arthur (Gail) Starr of Pinkney, Jeannette Sommer, and David Starr. A Rosary was prayed at Pray Funeral Home in Charlotte, MI. The Funeral Mass was held at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Charlotte, MI with Rev. Fr. Francis Mossholder officiating. If desired, memorial contributions may be made to St. Mary's School or the Pray Family Fund II of the Eaton County Community Foundation.