Meet Lala Contreras
Laurel “Lala” M. Contreras has come to live with us at Caring House. We’re honored.
Laurel, the daughter of George and Gloria Coakley, was born in Doctors Hospital in Los Angeles. She grew up in Gardena and graduated from Gardena High School.
She loves her “Lala” nickname, that came about once she was a mother because “Laurel” was hard for kids to pronounce.
Her daughter Susan shared these thoughts about Lala,
She’s beautiful and smart and wicked funny. Incredibly creative and artistic, the O.G. Martha Stuart, minus the cooking part. As a kid I once joked that she only made 52 meals a year . . . a big pot of something on Sunday, and we’d eat off of it the rest of the week. But put a paintbrush or glue gun in her hand and she would make something incredible.
One of my earliest memories with her is of us tie dying with giant buckets in our front yard, cute matching yellow sundresses. She would see things in magazines or stores or even model homes (she loved to traipse through model homes) and she just figured “I can make that” and she did.
Ever the practical joker, she pulled some good ones in her time. She once made a cousin eat a giant earthworm for a dollar and then short changed him but later sent him a check for fifty cents. She scared her best friend to tears, even though she hated being scared herself.
She was a great dancer and loved to get her groove on, but could not carry a tune in a bucket . She would sing along anyway snapping her fingers and singing the wrong words . . . always the wrong words. Her love and kindness and compassion for animals was amazing. Dogs . . . any animal really . . . loved her. She was at home on horseback, in fact she belonged on a horse and she wore a cowboy hat better than anyone I know. She used to joke that she was pretty sure she was a horse in a past life.
From the moment she arrived at Caring House, we’ve seen the love and dedication brought to Lala by her family and friends.
We’re glad that Lala is with us at Caring House. We look forward to caring for her.
Lala died on September 23, 2017. Honor her. Remember her.
September 28, 2017 @ 4:20 pm
Thank you for treating my Sister Laurel and all the family and friends so kindly. I have heard nothing but how wonderfully you treated each and every one of them.
Jeanne Contreras Miele
September 29, 2017 @ 8:26 am
My heart is saddened. Aunt Laurel was beautiful. I have so many childhood memories of her with my cousin Susie, her lovely daughter/my cousin. I cherish the times riding horses at Laurel’s and spending family time with her. She joins my sweet sister and dear dad in heaven. Susie said it so well – they were there to welcome her and take her hand as she entered the heavenly gates. Much love to the family. Cousin Jeanne
September 29, 2017 @ 5:35 pm
Blessed the day we became sisters! Thank You for giving our family the peace, love and comfort during her passing
October 9, 2017 @ 9:03 pm
I was fortunate enough to have Laurel as a co-worker at Rolm/IBM in the mid 1980’s and then again in the early 1990’s. She brought smiles and laughter to every account we worked on. Such a sweet classy lady. Whenever you talked with Laurel, you always knew she really cared about what you were saying. I was lucky to have known her and counted her as a friend.
Sandy Miller Aslanian
October 26, 2017 @ 4:43 pm
What a beautiful testimony to a beautiful soul. I so love the photo that Susan chose as it truly captures her spirit. Laurel and I first met in homeroom at Peary Jr. High. She loved telling the story of embarrassing me one time when our teacher, Mrs. Spiegner, announced that there had been a theft in the room. She asked if anyone wanted to clear their conscience and confess. Laurel raised her hand and said, “I confess, Sandy did it!” We got a lot of miles out of that story!
We attended Gardena High and, after graduation, met up again at Pacific Bell. In 2008 we went to our 45th class reunion and had a great time catching up. After that we called each other every couple of weeks to keep that connection.
I’m truly grateful for her friendship through the years. I continue to chat with her in her new life. Sending love and heartfelt condolences to Susan and her entire family and loyal friends.