Laura Graves Tankersley was born in Lubbock, TX on March 26, 1970 to Bill and Linda Graves. She was the second of their four children.
In 1992, she graduated from Texas Tech University with a Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education. Laura’s ability to reach out to small children and teach them in a loving way was her passion and her purpose. Children who came into regular contact with Laura came away with the knowledge that they were sent to receive, and also received the understanding that they were loved, that they were important, and that they were somebody, not just “another kid”.
In 2000, Laura became a counselor after receiving her Master’s Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Texas Tech. She worked as a Mental Health Coordinator with the Early Childhood Head Start Program. Her emphasis did not change, but rather morphed into a whole scale structured support system for at risk children. She worked with parents, teachers, and administrators to ensure that the children’s mental health needs were met.
Her strong sense of advocacy for the children she served was so apparent to anyone who worked with Laura. She believed wholeheartedly in making the best possible decisions for the children. Everyone around her knew this was her greatest priority in her life’s work with children.
In 2006, Laura began teaching her own children in a home school setting. The basis of her system of teaching was “Thomas Jefferson” style, literature based teaching. The children went at their own pace – exceedingly fast! Following the State of Texas guidelines for scope and sequence, she enhanced the guidelines with required Bible reading, verse recitations, art lessons, field trips, hands-on activities, all tied into the lessons she was teaching at the time.
Laura was a devoted Christian and a prayer warrior. She and Jeff were workers in their churches – teaching, volunteering, helping in any way they could, wherever they lived. She and the kids loved to cook and take things to family and friends and even people they hardly knew, in the Name of the Lord. She excelled at being a wife, mother, friend, confidant, listener, and supporter. Nothing was too large or too small for her to assist with and no one was above or beneath her.
Laura passed away on August 23, 2014.
She is survived by her husband of 21 years, Jeff Tankersley, and their three children: Jaren, Kathlyn, and Audrey, all of Canyon, TX. She is also survived by her father Bill Graves of San Angelo, TX, her mother Linda Graves of Troup, TX, her grandmother Dorothy McClain, also of Troup, her sister Jana Graves Rueter and husband John Rueter of Georgetown, TX, brother Allan Graves and wife Krispin of Colleyville, TX, and brother Andrew Graves of San Angelo, TX. She will be greatly missed by her five nieces and nephews, as well as the many aunts, uncles, and cousins who loved her dearly. Those who knew her and loved her are deeply impacted by her untimely death. She will be missed here, but welcomed into Heaven.
The family has established a scholarship fund for the children. Contributions may be sent to: Tankersley Children Fund, in care of Andrew Graves, Atty., P.O. Box 1071, San Angelo, TX 76902.