Mom's life revolved around children, church

| Monday, Oct. 29, 2012, 10:17 p.m.

Laura Divins kept a special place in her heart for children — hundreds of children, her loved ones said.

“She was always very energetic and always very kind and really tried to engage the young children with learning,” said Brian Devlin of Bradford Woods, who was a student in Divins' preschool class more than 25 years ago.

Laura “Jane” Divins of Oakmont died from a stroke on Thursday, Oct. 25, 2012, in Riverside Methodist Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. She was 88.

Mrs. Divins was visiting her daughter, Barbara Guerriero of Powell, Ohio, when she was hospitalized.

A former Ross resident, Mrs. Divins was a preschool teacher's assistant who never shied away from hard work, Guerriero said.

“We moved around and my father built every house we lived in. My mother was a true partner. My mother helped build those houses,” she said.

Born Feb. 24, 1924, in Punxsutawney, Mrs. Divins graduated from Punxsutawney High School in 1942 and married James Robert “Bob” Divins three years later.

While her daughter and son attended Perrysville Elementary School in the mid- to late 1950s, Mrs. Divins was one of the “hot dog ladies” — mothers who volunteered to cook hot dogs for students once a month during a time when hot lunches in schools were not the norm, Guerriero said.

“And that was a really big thing to a little kid at that time,” she said.

Mrs. Divins later became a registrar and preschool teacher's assistant at Hiland Preschool, part of Hiland Presbyterian Church in Ross.

“The family joke is, we never wanted to go to Ross Park Mall shopping with her because ... every 20 feet she would run into a student or former student and wanted to relive those memories,” Guerriero said.

Mrs. Divins retired in 2002 after more than 30 years at Hiland. She loved travel, the outdoors and dogs, her daughter said.

She remained active in the church, where she served on committees, assisted with Vacation Bible School and chaired a women's circle before moving to Oakmont.

In 2006, 14 years after her husband died, she moved from Ross to Presbyterian SeniorCare's Westminster Place, an assisted-living facility in Oakmont.

In addition to her daughter, Mrs. Divins is survived by her son, James E. “Jim” Divins of New Creek, W.Va.

Her husband, James; sister, Leota “Belle” Thompson Moore; and brother, Bernard “Bus” Thompson, preceded her in death.

Services will take place at 11 a.m. Tuesday in T.B. Devlin Funeral Home, 806 Perry Highway, Ross. Entombment will follow in Allegheny County Memorial Park Mausoleum.

Tory N. Parrish is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-380-5662 or

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