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1953 Laura 2023

Laura Lee Flynn

March 23, 1953 — April 20, 2023

On April 20, 2023 Laura Lee Flynn, loving mother of two daughters and grandmother to her grandson, passed away at the age of 70 with her family and friends by her side at her home in Grand Forks, ND. Laura was born on March 23, 1953 in Albuquerque, NM to Mary Lou (Poteet) and Joseph Lee McDonald. Laura’s father came from a long line of ranchers in Texas and Lincoln County, NM dating back to the 1800s. As a girl, Laura barrel raced horses in rodeos in New Mexico and from that, she found her love of horses at an early age. On her mother’s side, her Aunt Mittie and Uncle Buck taught her to paint, she started painting at a young age and her foundation of horses and art were driving forces in her life. Laura moved to Grand Forks, ND in 1976 where she met her husband, they married May 14, 1977. Laura had two daughters Kathy (1978) and Jamie (1982). Although Laura divorced in 1989, she maintained an active presence as a mother in her daughters’ lives. She went on to receive a Bachelor of Arts and Master’s in Fine Art from the University of North Dakota where she made lifelong friends and continued her love of art and painting. In 2000, Laura returned to New Mexico and found her home in Ruidoso, a small town in the mountains of Lincoln County, New Mexico. There she discovered her love of horse racing, returning to her roots of her Rodeo days. While in New Mexico, she continued her work as an artist, teaching college courses and working for a local newspaper. She went on to found a horse racing magazine that she maintained for many years, allowing her to travel the country and cover the Kentucky Derby, the Belmont Stakes, the Preakness, the Santa Anita Derby along with many New Mexico and Texas races. Laura loved her work in the horse racing industry. All along, she continued to paint. She returned to Grand Forks in 2014 to be close to her daughters and in 2016, she became a grandmother to Henry. She loved being a grandmother more than anything. Laura continued her painting for the years after her return. In Laura’s words, “Being an artist is hard by applying any medium to express your talent and imagination opens one up to praise and condemnation. It takes much courage to walk away from hurtful words. With art, I am free and I love it. I do not paint for profit or praise; I paint for pleasure and for the inner peace it brings me. I guess that is why I have gifted more art than sold.” Laura is survived by her daughters, Kathy, Grand Forks, ND, and Jamie (George), Reiles Acres, ND; her grandson Henry, Reiles Acres, ND; her brother Greg (Katy) Johnston, her niece and nephew Caylen and Will Johnston, Long Beach, CA; her niece Amber (Gordon) Miller, Grand Forks. Laura was preceded in death by her parents and brother, Scott. Laura will always be remembered for her paintings, love of art and horses. Laura taught her daughters how to love travel and to take adventures, there were many. She had a wild spirit that was never tamed and an open, loving heart. She is also survived by dear friends. The family will have a private service in Grand Forks followed by a Celebration of Life at a future date in New Mexico. The family requests donations to Meals on Wheels or the North Dakota Museum of Art in Laura’s name in lieu of flowers.
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