The Ottumwa Courier


January 21, 2013

Laura McGrath, 81, Albia

ALBIA — An angel got her wings Friday, Jan. 18, 2013, when Laura Mae (Toopes) McGrath, 81, of Albia, passed away at Monroe County Hospital in Albia.

Laura was born Feb. 17, 1931, to Clarence M. and Elsie A. (Richards) McDowell in Ottumwa. She married Leonard I. Toopes Sr. on Jan. 29, 1946, in Ottumwa. Laura later married Joseph Edward McGrath on Oct. 3, 1981, in St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Georgetown. He preceded her in death on April 2, 2010.

Laura grew up and attended school in Ottumwa. She began work as a waitress before moving to Albia and working at Chamberlain’s. In 1973, she started at Chicago Rivet and retired in 1994.

Laura was a member of St. Patrick’s Catholic Church and St. Patrick’s Altar and Rosary Society in Georgetown. She was a great cook and enjoyed volunteering her time in the kitchen at the Leisure Lounge in Albia. To her family, she was their rock. She was always willing to take care of her family and friends that needed her help. She also enjoyed bowling and was very involved with her children’s activities.

Laura is survived by her children, Lennie (Dee) Toopes of Albia, Donna (Mike) Kearney of Newton, Robert Toopes of Albia, Carol Arnold of Knoxville, and Greg (Holly) Shelford of Knoxville; 11 grandchildren; 14 great-grandchildren; two sisters, Connie Surber and Mary Terpstra; and several nieces, nephews and friends.

She was preceded in death by her parents; husbands, Leonard I. Toopes Sr. and Joseph Edward McGrath; a son, James Lee; a grandson, Michael Kearney; two brothers, Richard and Clarence; two sisters, June and Rosie; a son-in-law, Steve Arnold; and a daughter-in-law, Christina (Visser) Toopes.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Georgetown; with Fr. Patrick Lumsden officiating. Burial will follow in St. Patrick’s Cemetery in Georgetown.

Visitation will be held from noon to 8 p.m. today at Tharp Funeral Home in Albia with family present from 6-8 p.m.

A rosary will be led by St. Patrick’s Altar and Rosary Society at 4 p.m., and a Christian wake service will be held at 6 p.m. today at the funeral home.

Memorials may be directed to St. Patrick’s Church in Georgetown.

Condolences for the family may be left at

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