Elaine Marie Laird
September 23, 2021
Caring wife, mother, grandmother, sister, aunt, and friend, Elaine Marie Laird passed away at home on September 17, 2021, after a courageous 12-year battle with Ovarian cancer, surrounded by her loved ones who will continue to honor her legacy by living their lives to the fullest.
Elaine is survived by her loving husband of 50 years Loren Laird, daughters Christina Rogers and husband Jon, Margaret Laird, Sarah Staley and husband Jason, and Mary Laird. In addition to children, Elaine is mourned by her six beautiful grandchildren, Gage Rogers, Owen Kern, Mable Kern, Katherine Rogers, Evalina Staley, and Henry Staley, along with her two brothers, Chris Vilos Jr. and wife Glenna, and Frank Vilos, her sister-in-law Julie Wortham, including many beloved nieces and nephews.
Elaine was born to Chris and Elizabeth Vilos on July 7, 1944, in Gillette, Wyoming. They lived in Casper, Sheridan, Cook City, and Bozeman where she attended high school through her Junior year. In 1960 her family relocated to Worland, Wyoming where they ran first Scotty's restaurant and then the Ram's Horn. Elaine graduated from Worland High School in 1962. She went on to study at Northwest Community College on a Drama Scholarship, and then to Beauty School in Billings, Montana where she earned her Cosmetology degree. Upon her certification, she returned to Worland and opened a beauty salon. It was then she met the love of her life Loren Laird at Oktoberfest. They had a large Greek Orthodox wedding in 1971 at the Episcopal church, with over 500 guests. People still reminisce about their wedding today and the reception that followed at the old Community Center. One of their favorite memories from their honeymoon in Las Vegas was, "Just before a fancy steak dinner, Loren took off the tux and put on his bibbies, and that was that."
Loren and Elaine eventually settled on the Laird farm east of town, where they raised their four daughters, Christina, Margie, Sarah, and Mary. Elaine found her calling when she went to work at Absaroka Head Start, first as an aide, then teacher, and finally as director for the last 10 years of her career. In her 25 years with Absaroka Head Start, it ranked in the top 40 in the country with the assistance of Jean Hejtmanek and the rest of her wonderful team. Elaine served on both state and national boards, earning multiple awards for the program. During this time, Elaine served as a board member for the Washakie County School District #1 and earned her AA from Northwest Community College continuing to the University of Wyoming. One of Elaine's greatest joys in life was education and helping families not just in her hometown of Worland, but all over Wyoming and the country; she helped many of her staff members receive their degrees, some moved on with teaching degrees and master's degrees. She always said that she was blessed to have a job that provided her with her life's mission.
Elaine's faith and love for the Lord gave her inspiration and guidance throughout her life. She was raised Catholic and a member of both the Greek Orthodox and First Presbyterian Churches in Worland. She was known as a prayer warrior for her friends and family, always giving prayers and pocket angels to help guide them.
The simplest pleasures brought great joy to Elaine, attending church, gardening, singing, traveling, and cooking for everyone that came through her door. In her later years she took up painting, and made sure everyone had one, with a special note attached to the back. Elaine was the heart of her family, and everyone gravitated to her home for family gatherings, advice, and holiday dinners, especially to her nieces and nephews who always came to the farm to visit Auntie Elaine and Uncle Loren. She will always be remembered as a caring and generous woman that touched the lives of many people.
Funeral services will be held 1:00 PM, Saturday, September 25, 2021 at St. Alban's Episcopal Church with Father Daniel Payne of the Greek Orthodox Church officiating. Burial will follow at Riverview Memorial Gardens Cemetery. Memorial donations may be made to Absaroka Head Start and sent to PO Box 524, Worland, WY 82401. Online condolences may be made at http://www.bryantfuneralhomeonline.com.