Barbara Rodee Laspina, 86, of West Palm Beach, Florida died early Friday, January 14, after a brief hospitalization.
Surviving are her husband of 60 years, Peter Laspina of West Palm Beach, Florida; sons and daughters Peter J. (Jo) Laspina, Barbara (Steve) Piazzo, Robert (Bonnie) Laspina, Mary (Mike) Stafford, and Nancy (Tom) Brogan; numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren; sisters Jessie Manitta, Janet Cook, Elaine Nelson, Phyllis Varco, and their families; and brothers Bernard Rodee and William Rodee and their families.
She was predeceased by a grandson, Joshua Laspina; a son, James Laspina; and sisters Marie Zeh, Thelma Rodee, and infant sister Melba.
Born June 8, 1924 at the family farm in Canton, she was the daughter of the late Bernard and Etta Rodee. She was a graduate of Canton High School, followed by Potsdam State Teachers College. It was in college that she was elected as the president of the St. Lawrence County 4H Council. This is quite a prestigious position for anyone, but especially being the first female from St. Lawrence County to achieve this, and then at a time when women didn’t often get these positions. After graduating from Potsdam in 1944, she accepted a teaching position in Central Islip, Long Island. It was quite an exciting trip to make for a girl raised on a dairy farm on the Canadian border all the way to Long Island. It was here, though, that she met her future husband, Peter C. Laspina. They married at Brick Chapel on July 23, 1950.
She raised six children, was a Sunday School administrator, cub scout Den mother, elder in her church, full-time elementary school teacher, worked as a reading specialist and as an administrative intern. She was a member of the Order of the Eastern Star.
It was no surprise that Barbara should choose teaching as her profession. She loved children and had a passion for learning. She was the second oldest of nine children and her duties on the farm mainly involved helping raise the younger ones. An avid and passionate reader, Barbara could often be found rocking a cradle with her foot while reading a book, and maybe even cooking in the farm kitchen at the same time!
Barbara had compassion and boundless energy for everyone. At home raising her own family, she always had time for a craft project, a classroom experiment, a new pet, a sick child, backyard summer barbecues with extended family, home-made dinners,…. the list is endless. She never turned down a request for help from her children or anyone, no matter what else she had going on, thus making everyone feel special, welcomed and loved. Nothing was more important to her than her family.
She will be laid to rest at Brick Chapel Church, Canton, on Wednesday, January 19 following a viewing from 10 to 11:00 a.m. and a funeral service at Lawrence’s Funeral Home, Canton, at 11:15 a.m.
Memorial donations may be made to the Brick Chapel Cemetery, c/o William Rodee, 5431A CR 27, Canton, NY 13617; or the Youth Program, Lakeside Presbyterian Church, 4601 S. Flagler Dr., West Palm Beach, FL 33405.