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Josette Aline (Marin) Laney
December 8, 1934 ~ October 12, 2023 (age 88) 88 Years Old
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Josette Aline Marin Laney, 88, of Mishawaka, passed away in her own home on Thursday, October 12, which would have been her late husband’s 94th birthday. She is preceded in death by her parents Paul and Juliet Marin of Paris, France; her husband, William Laney of Lake Charles, LA; her sister, Danielle Bryson of Jacksonville, FL; and her son, Gary Laney, longtime sportswriter for the Lake Charles American Press. She is survived by her daughter, Cynthia Laney and grandson, Jack Laney of Granger, IN; and her son, Mark (Lauren) Laney of Palmer Lake, CO and grandson, Connor.
Josette was born on a rubber plantation in Saigon, Vietnam, on December 8, 1934. Her father was a lieutenant in the French army fighting the Viet Minh when the family of 7 fled on a secret passage train to Paris, where she grew up. As a young woman she traveled to Italy, Germany, Morocco, Monaco, Ceylon, and Thailand, working in retail until she settled into an au pair position with a family named Goodchild in London.
Josette came to the United States in 1963 at her parents’ bidding to retrieve her younger sister Danielle, who had run away and married an American sailor. On that mission she met her own American soulmate on Myrtle Beach, a Gary Cooper lookalike who became the love of her life. They were married for 27 years when she lost Bill to cancer, and Josette joins him now in eternal rest.
As her adult children left Lake Charles, Josette hearkened back to her au pair days in London and became a popular babysitter for those customers that had been her daughter’s while she was in high school. Her favorites included Amanda Davis, now Amanda Pousson, daughter of Clayton and Geralyn Davis of Lake Charles; and Wendy and Jacob Colonna, children of Yvonne and Ernie. She often reflected fondly on the many children she helped bring up.
Josette lived in Lake Charles from 1980 until 2020, but as a native of France never drove a car. Her friend Bernadette (“Bernie”) Simon was a steady friend and fixture in her life with trips to doctors and grocery stores when her children moved away, and Josette also leaned heavily on the Lake Charles Transit System (city buses), where she made many friends and appreciated the kindnesses of those who helped her on and off.
Mom loved Lake Charles and considered it home. Her favorite places to go were Prien Lake Mall (especially Piccadilly in the day), Kroger, Seafood Palace, Walmart, Steamboat Bill’s, Albertson’s, JD Bank on Ryan St., and at Christmas, those slow rides along Shell Beach Drive. There were many places where old friends recognized Mrs. Laney.
After much pleading, in January 2020 her daughter Cindy finally convinced her at the age of 84 to leave her dear Lake Charles for Mishawaka, IN. Still insisting that she have her own space, Josette lived 10 minutes away from Cindy and Jack. Since then, they have enjoyed quality time together braving the pandemic; running on those errand sprees and doctor visits; watching old movies, Gunsmoke and Perry Mason; weekend road trips to Lake Michigan for perch, creme brulee and sunsets; and dining at whatever restaurant was her whim. There has been a lot of competing at Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune. We were also able to unite her with longtime friend, penpal and Bill’s cousin Gussie Stanford of Columbus, OH. “Mima” loved the changing seasons, the flowers, the birds, the green grass and the friendly people of Indiana. She was also very fond of her healthcare team at South Bend Clinic, especially Dr. Morningstar.
She is dearly beloved and closest to her family’s hearts, and will be loved forever.