ForeverMissed
This memorial website was created in memory of our colleague and friend LaTia Gambrell. Your Rotary family will never forget you.

Posted by Janna G on April 14, 2021
LaTia, before this year we spent 5 years sitting with only a wall between us. On those evenings when we were the only ones there we'd end up answering questions for each other. I recall how when concentrating, you spoke loud enough to be heard and my workday was filled with your voice in the background. When we ever go back to the building, it will be all that much quieter without you there. 
Posted by Lauren Marquez-Viso on April 12, 2021
Dear LaTia, I cannot believe you're no longer with us. You've been called home, but we weren't ready to say goodbye. It won't be the same without you at team meetings and team celebrations. It was so great when you'd open up and share something about yourself. I loved the way you told stories and you always made me laugh. Your smile and laughter were infectious. When you visited our aisle, I knew I could count on a fun conversation and a laugh; usually you and Cecelia would be getting the rest of us informed about the latest reality tv gossip and we'd all be happy and smiling and have a good laugh. You were such a hard worker and did your job so well. I feel blessed to have worked with you for so many years. I hope you know just how much we all appreciated you. You've left a hole in our team and a hole in our hearts. We'll hold your beautiful memory there to comfort us and to celebrate you. I love you LaTia and I'll miss you. You are in God's arms now.
Posted by Lauren Sterenberg on April 12, 2021
LaTia, you will be so greatly missed. Your warmth, kindness and thoughtfulness brought such a light to our Rotary family. Holding your family in my thoughts and prayers.
Posted by Ritsuko Yamamoto on April 12, 2021
LaTia, I have no words to say my sadness. Thank you so much so far. I pray for your soul and your family from Japan.
Posted by Megan Timmons on April 9, 2021
LaTia will be missed by her Rotary family. LaTia always had a warm smile and a story ready to brighten your day.

Keeping LaTia's family and friends in my meditations during this difficult time.
Posted by Kenneth Wright on April 9, 2021
My prayers are with LaTia's husband and her family! I will always remember her kindness and her great sense of humor and wonderful smile. A lady with a great heart and joyful, friendly spirit! She will be missed greatly! May God give you peace and comfort!
Posted by Yuki Shimizu on April 9, 2021
LaTia, I still cannot believe and it is hard to select the words to tell you... thank you for everything you have done for us - your colleagues in Japan. Your were a part of many projects to do good in the world. Thank you. Rest In Peace. 
Posted by Shyanmei Wang on April 9, 2021
I am very very sad and shocked to hear LaTia's passing. LaTia was part of team 2 and we worked with her, commiserated with her, and laughed with her all the time! I missed her walking over to our aisle to check in with us, chatted with us, and shared her love for movies with us. I consulted her before I went to get my pedicure because I loved her choice of colors. She was so vibrant that she brought joy and light to the office. My work is tightly connected with her so it is so hard for me to see her name everywhere I turned while working. She left us too soon and I regretted that I didn't express my gratitude to her help to me enough.

I will always remember LaTia.
Posted by Grace Walquist on April 8, 2021
LaTia, our hard working colleague who would embrace challenges and take up extra tasks to help out the team in whatever capacities needed, will be deeply missed. We will miss your brilliance, your years of knowledge, your experience in handling grants, and your fun and bubbly personality! Thank you, LaTia, for being my mentor and my colleague. I will continue to cherish your warm smile and laughter. In remembrance of you and all you've contributed to the Rotary and to our team, I am grateful for the times we worked together.
Posted by Heather Antti on April 8, 2021
I didn't really know LaTia -- I just met her once at a Rotary dinner -- but I know her family, friends, and colleagues are hurting. I'm so sorry for your loss. My condolences.
Posted by Megan Anderson on April 8, 2021
LaTia and I shared many laughs over the years. I will remember her kindness and sense of humor fondly. My heart goes out to her family in this difficult time.
Posted by Elisa Dworak on April 8, 2021
LaTia and I would often chat on the el platform and during the train ride from the Evanston Davis Purple Line stop. She was a lovely person, always happy and full of life. I'll miss her smiling face and positive energy. Sending my prayers to her family and friends in this time of sorrow and grief.
Posted by Meredith Burlew on April 8, 2021
LaTia's kindness and warmth will be missed each and every day. She was a beautiful spirit and I am holding her and her family and friends in my thoughts.
Posted by Brent Drage on April 8, 2021
I will always remember LaTia's as a friend with an amazing sense of humor, and the ability to provide detailed reviews of movies that included everything except for the correct names of the actors... She knew how to make us laugh ever day, and would brighten up the workplace with her personality and stylish wears. Having the opportunity to work with LaTia is something that I will forever be thankful for as she was not only a co-worker, but also a friend. I know we will eventually meet again, and I will be looking forward to hearing about all of the movies and shows I should be watching. My thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends during this difficult time. May we all do our best to celebrate LaTia even if we are far apart. 
Posted by colette martin-wilde on April 7, 2021
LaTia will be greatly missed in the Rotary family. I admired and appreciated her loving attention to detail. Her sense of style was impeccable and I always wished I could put myself together as well. My sincerest condolences to LaTia's family, friends and community. Her light will continue to shine brightly.
Posted by Kenia Sandoval on April 7, 2021
LaTia, our Greek lettered community lunches will not be the same without you. Those of us who got to know you were very lucky for having crossed paths with you. Thank you for your continued passion. May you rest easy in grace and love.
Posted by Marty Daiga on April 7, 2021
LaTia's kindness will never be forgotten. I will miss discussing the latest and upcoming movies with her and seeing her smile in the hallways. My thoughts and prayers go out to her family during this tough time. Rest in peace.
Posted by Taylor Henderson on April 7, 2021
My condolences to LaTia's family, friends and colleagues during this difficult time. LaTia was always very welcoming with such a beautiful smile. We'll remember you and the memories privileged to have shared with you.
Posted by Cecelia Walter on April 7, 2021
To my beautiful and beloved friend LaTia,
Nothing will be able to fill the hole in my heart that was created when I heard you were gone. How can I ever feel ready to say goodbye to eight years of seemingly everlasting friendship? Eight years of hearing your voice every day. Eight years of laughter. Eight years of sharing stories. Eight years of sharing life's happy and tragic milestones. Watching our favorite shows and always making time to talk about them. Accidentally wearing matching dresses and buying the same pair of shoes. Providing daily messages and prayers for each other as we went through difficult and challenging times.
These things I will treasure always. Though you are no longer here, you will not be forgotten, my dearest friend. I will keep your memory alive in my heart forever.

Leave a Tribute

 
Recent Tributes
Posted by Janna G on April 14, 2021
LaTia, before this year we spent 5 years sitting with only a wall between us. On those evenings when we were the only ones there we'd end up answering questions for each other. I recall how when concentrating, you spoke loud enough to be heard and my workday was filled with your voice in the background. When we ever go back to the building, it will be all that much quieter without you there. 
Posted by Lauren Marquez-Viso on April 12, 2021
Dear LaTia, I cannot believe you're no longer with us. You've been called home, but we weren't ready to say goodbye. It won't be the same without you at team meetings and team celebrations. It was so great when you'd open up and share something about yourself. I loved the way you told stories and you always made me laugh. Your smile and laughter were infectious. When you visited our aisle, I knew I could count on a fun conversation and a laugh; usually you and Cecelia would be getting the rest of us informed about the latest reality tv gossip and we'd all be happy and smiling and have a good laugh. You were such a hard worker and did your job so well. I feel blessed to have worked with you for so many years. I hope you know just how much we all appreciated you. You've left a hole in our team and a hole in our hearts. We'll hold your beautiful memory there to comfort us and to celebrate you. I love you LaTia and I'll miss you. You are in God's arms now.
Posted by Lauren Sterenberg on April 12, 2021
LaTia, you will be so greatly missed. Your warmth, kindness and thoughtfulness brought such a light to our Rotary family. Holding your family in my thoughts and prayers.
Recent stories

Brace Yourself

Shared by Steven Sundstrom on April 7, 2021
I know how much La Tia and her husband Bryant enjoyed going to the movies. When you look through the new movies, you read the synopsis and choose what you’re in the mood for. I know La Tia and Bry often went to see scary movies or suspense movies. When you go to see a movie that’s made to take your breath away, you brace yourself.

However, when someone in our lives, someone we love, someone who has brought so much color and fulfillment to our otherwise regular, humdrum days, takes their last breath, we are unprepared. We don’t know the synopsis of life, so we often think, “Maybe it’ll be like a romantic comedy. Something to sit back and enjoy. Have a laugh, munch on some popcorn,” and then at the end we hope to say, “Hmm, I actually liked it!”

But we all know life isn’t like that. There is no singular genre to life. Life contains all of the genres of movies, and there is no telling what one moment will resemble against another. It is suspenseful, but we can’t live our entire lives in a state of suspense, so we let our guard down.

In life, it’s only when something happens do we realize “the genre” has changed, and it is time to brace yourself. We have to, because we don’t know what comes next, but it’s after the fact. Since we’re already in it, there’s a feeling of being cut and hiding our eyes from our own wound. If we allow ourselves the faith and the wherewithal to do so, we step back just a little, and we observe our emotional state. We accept that this turn in the plot is not what we expected. This twist hurts.

We look around the theater and the audience is full of those that care about us. They are also hurting. They are also bracing for the next scene. We all cover our eyes, sometimes to hide a tear.

The word brace comes from the Latin bracchium, which means arm. It’s as if we are an arm’s length from ourselves as we try to hide from life. We are doing our best in those moments to reassess this world and our place in it. We brace ourselves for the impact, knowing it will hurt. Unlike in the movies, this hurts in our souls. This ache causes us to seize up and hold our breath for a moment. In that moment, we reassess. We deserve to take it at our own pace. To recalibrate our breath now that the quality of the oxygen we breathe seems forever changed.

When we’re ready, we look around the auditorium again. We realize the seats next to us, behind us, and before us are filled with others: bracchia, arms extended. If we are ready, we allow that clasping of our own hearts to loosen. The armor we put on to guard against impact can be loosened so we can let in the empathy of others. We embrace others that can empathize with how we are feeling. They do not know exactly how we feel, but they know the hurt; they are feeling pain too. The Old French word bracier, to embrace reminds us that when we brace our hearts for the impact, the best armor to withstand the pain is to embrace those we love, embrace ourselves and allow the grief to express itself.

Through tears, we peek through our fingers at the scary parts of the movie, and look for a sign that it’s safe again. This time, reminded that this is not an easy-breezy movie, but a life full of the unexpected.

La Tia loved the suspense of a good movie. She loved so many things about life and shared that joy with those around her. We all have our stories of how she made us smile. She once told me, a little embarrassedly, that she would chew on a blanket while watching movies sometimes. I loved her stories because at the heart of each one was a signal that she did not take lightly what life has to offer. She grasped it, she braced herself, she embraced it, and she lived fully. I hope each one of us whose heart she touched is reminded of the smile she inevitably put on our faces, at one time or another, and likely repeatedly, til it hurt. You don’t brace yourself for that. You welcome it until your cheeks hurt, and your tummy is tight, and you take another breath. When you remember La Tia, remember that feeling.