Faculty, staff, and students at University of Houston’s National Center for Airborne Laser Mapping are deeply saddened by the passing of our friend and colleague Laura Ann Murphy. Laura was not only essential to our day-to-day research and teaching efforts, but she went above and beyond to ensure that we were happy and doing well. From a simple M&M dispenser that she kept at her desk so we had a sweet moment when we stopped to talk to her, to her famous pineapple upside-down cake and Irish beef and Guinness stew that she often prepared for our pot-lucks or celebrations, to the many lunches, dinners, and outings she organized for staff, students, and visitors, to the unforgettable moments she delighted and entertained us through singing, she has left us with countless memories. Laura was not only special and caring to the people she knew, but she was kind and helpful to those in need that she did not know. When Hurricane Harvey hit Houston last year, she was one of the first people to organize food, clothing, and supplies collection and delivery for her immediate and city-wide neighbors.
We have lost not only a coworker, but we have lost an important part of our collective spirit. We are certain that she would like us to keep moving forward, to continue to do good for science and our communities, and to put a smile on our friends’, families’, and neighbors’ faces. As we miss her, we also celebrate her life, her accomplishments, and the joy and positive examples she brought to our lives. Below we share photos of a few of these special moments with which she enriched our lives.