Laura Cecilia (McPhee) Strauss, 87, died May 6, 2010, at Penobscot Shores after a long illness.

Laura was born March 18, 1923, in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada, the daughter of Nora McPhee.

She served in the Royal Canadian Air Force during World War II, and was stationed in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland. After the war, she attended Queens University in Ontario, became a teacher and eventually decided to emigrate to Australia. Laura sailed from Vancouver and met her husband, Patrick, when he joined the same ship in Honolulu. They were married after disembarking in Sydney.

Her lifelong passions were bird-watching, gardening, travel and the search for information; and she became a librarian after earning a master’s degree from Wayne State University in Michigan. She was the town librarian in Hadley, Mich., and published a history of Hadley to commemorate its 1976 centennial. She later became the city librarian in Lapeer, Mich., where she spearheaded a fundraising campaign to modernize the library and add a new wing.

She retired in 1988 and moved to Belfast with her husband in 1991. She will be remembered locally for her extensive collection of nativity figures from around the world, for her walking tour brochures of downtown Belfast and the historic district on which she collaborated with friends, and her support of the many community projects in which her husband was involved. Declining eyesight forced her to curtail her outside activities prematurely.

She is survived by her husband of 58 years, W. Patrick Strauss, of Belfast; a daughter, Jane, of Northport; and a sister, Marguerite Yadivisiak, of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, her husband and two daughters.

The family has requested that in lieu of flowers, donations be made in her memory to the American Health Assistance Fund, 22512 Gateway Center Drive, Clarksburg, MD 20871 or, with gifts designated for macular degeneration or glaucoma research.

Arrangements are with Crabiel-Riposta Funeral Home, 182 Waldo Ave., Belfast. Online condolences may be offered to the family at