Laura Lynn Perella
Laura Lynn Perella
  • April 22, 1966 - July 13, 2017
  • California

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Laura Lynn Perella, age 51 passed away on Thursday July 13th at 9:30PM. Laura was born on April 22nd 1966 at Mercy General Hospital in Sacramento, CA. She is survived by her father, Maurice D. Perella, her mother Judith JoAnne Jacopetti-Perella, her sister Denise M Perella-Van Essen and niece Ashley M. Van Essen.
Laura's story is actually pretty remarkable. When she was 8 months old, she got very sick with Spinal Meningitis and Encephalitis. As a result she became developmentally handicapped. She has Cerebral Palsy, Spastic Paraplegia, and a seizure disorder to name a few. She was not even able to swallow and was thought to be a vegetable. We were also told that she wouldn't live very long. She proved everyone wrong. She was even featured in a few newspaper articles with the Sacramento Bee. Through the perseverance of her mother she went to water therapy at Easter Seales and had many surgeries to attempt to straighten her legs and feet. She also attended a school at UCP and graduated in 1971.
When she was 6 years old she was placed at Woodland Hospital where she was taught to swallow. From there she was placed at a wonderful home called Summerhouse, also in Woodland. Her mother was very involved in her care and was on the board of directors of the home. She flourished while she was there. She was taught how to walk with a walking stick, she learned sign language and was able to verbalize many words and sounds. She participated many years at the Special Olympics and dusted many in the wheelchair races and shot put. She was so lucky to have been able to live at this house for many years. Unfortunately, they lost their funding and Alta California Regional had to scramble for a place for her to go.
She was moved to Santa Rosa. This home was not a good fit for Laura. They spilled hot coffee on her and rammed her toe into the wall. Needless to say she wasn't there very long and they were shut down. From there she moved to Stockton, where they just medicated her. Again, not there very long. During this time she lost her mobility and was confined to a wheelchair.
She was finally moved to a place called The Meadows in Sacramento. It was a large group home for the disabled. She made many friends there and lived there for a number of years. During the week she attended a day program and did many jobs such as folding Avon books and cleaning graffiti off of walls. This home eventually lost their funding and she was moved to her final residence Phoenix House in Antelope, CA. It is part of an organization called ResCare. This was a much smaller place. She lived there for about 15 years. A few of the ladies that she became friends/family with also were moved with her. They all became another family to Laura as well as the people who cared for her. Laura referred to herself as NaNa and that is what everyone called her.
Laura was always happy and smiling. She loved to be fashionable with clothes, hair, nails and makeup. She also loved hats very much. She loved Starbucks coffee and shopping. Her favorite movie was Annie.
Everybody that has ever crossed paths with Laura says what a joy she was and how she just lit up a room with her smile. She will be missed so much by so many. She will live on forever in our hearts. Rest in Peace.
There will be a Prayer Service/viewing at St Clare Catholic Church in Roseville, CA on Thursday July 20th. and will begin at 7:30PM. All are invited to attend.
Her funeral mass will be at St Clare Catholic Church in Roseville, CA on Friday July 21st at 10:30AM. All are invited to attend. There will be a reception immediately following in the Morris Center at St. Clare. Please come and help the family celebrate her life.