Sherling Theresa Lauricella
October 6, 2010
Sherling Theresa Lauricella, M.D., a retired pediatrician, died at her home in the Snowmass Creek Valley on Sept. 25 after a long battle with cancer. She was 81.
Born in New Orleans, La. on July 30, 1929, Sherling was the daughter of John L. Lauricella and Theresa Sherling Lauricella. She was raised in the nearby town of Harahan, La. She was educated in New Orleans, graduating from Dominican High School and Dominican College, where she was known as “Peewee” due to her diminutive size. Sherling graduated from Louisiana State University School of Medicine in 1954 and completed her medical training at The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in 1956.
In the late 1950s, Dr. Lauricella established the Children’s Clinic on the banks of Bayou Lafourche in Raceland, La. She was a gifted, tireless pediatrician, who dedicated her career to serving the children of Lafourche and Terrebonne parishes in south Louisiana. She practiced pediatrics at the Children’s Clinic until the mid-1980s, when she retired and moved to Aspen.
Beyond her medical practice, Sherling had many diverse interests and talents. She was a feisty intellectual, who read voraciously. A woman of deeply felt convictions, she was always happy to offer her thoughts on any number of topics. Sherling was a devoted balletomane, opera-goer, and connoisseur of art house films. For many years, she made annual trips to New York City to watch performances of the New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theater, and the Royal Ballet. She also traveled extensively throughout Europe, particularly to Italy, France and Switzerland. She was an exquisite home cook, having learned initially from her Italian-American aunts and later from the cookbooks of Julia Child and Miriam Guidroz, who was a close friend from the Bayou.
Sherling also had a profound, lifelong love of the outdoors. As a young woman, she was an avid sport fisherman at Grand Isle, a barrier island off the Louisiana coast.
During her early years along Bayou Lafourche, she became an accomplished duck hunter and assembled a marvelous collection of rare duck decoys. During the late 1960s, she shifted her focus to the Rocky Mountains, where she became an ardent hiker and skier, both alpine and cross country. In the late 1980s, she built a cabin in the Snowmass Creek Valley, where she lived happily and looked after her garden.
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Above all, Sherling was devoted to the education of her nieces and nephews, and more recently of her many great-nieces and great-nephews. She was affectionately known as “Auntie” and had a huge impact on all of their lives. She introduced them to the arts and frequently took them to the ballet, museums, and the movies when they were young. She taught them to cook and to ski, and she traveled with them, both domestically and abroad. She regularly sent them books. But most importantly, she piqued their intellectual curiosity by constantly asking them probing questions and then challenging their answers.
Her mind remained razor sharp until the very end. Sherling spent her final few years puttering around her kitchen, garden and reading in bed, surrounded by a pile of books and New Yorkers, which she read at a feverish pace. She continued to delight in arguing over the phone about something that she had recently read.
Sherling is survived by her brother Francis E. “Hank” Lauricella of Harahan, La.; two nieces, five nephews, and many great-nieces and great-nephews; devoted, longtime friend Muriel Frei of Aspen. They traveled together for more than 35 years, discovering new places and sharing their love of history, art, and food. The Lauricella family extends its heartfelt thanks to Muriel for her constant care and compassion during Sherling’s lengthy illness.
Sherling leaves many happy memories with her friends in Switzerland, Santa Fe, the Roaring Fork Valley and elsewhere around the world.
Special thanks are also given to Dr. David Borchers, Dr. Douglas Rovira and his team at the Aspen Valley Hospital and Hospice of the Valley for their extraordinary care of Sherling.
A memorial service is being planned for 2011 in Aspen.
In lieu of flowers, please send contributions either to St. Joseph Indian School, 1301 N. Main St., Chamberlain, S.D. 57325 (www.stjo.org) or to Hospice of the Valley, P.O. Box 3768, Basalt, CO 81621.