Ripley - Laura Cleaves (Hodson) Cripps, 88, passed away peacefully January 24, 2024, at the Maine Veterans Home in Augusta. The complications of advanced Merkel Cell cancer were more than her body and spirit could overcome.\n\nShe was born September 24, 1935 in Winchester MA, the daughter of Albert Cleaves and Laura Booth (Cobleigh) Hodson.\n\nThe Hodsons moved to Maine in 1940. Laura had many happy childhood adventures growing up on a rented farm in the Prouts Neck area of Scarborough. She roamed the beaches and rural village with siblings and friends, attending the one room Black Point School. The family relocated to Portland when she was a teen, a difficult transition that was alleviated by the hours spent down the street at a stable for summer camp horses. She and her sister cared for the horses and learned to ride.\n\nLaura was a Deering High graduate. She attended nursing school for two years, leaving for marriage and children. She and husband Don had four children, renting in South Portland until they were able to build their home in rural Scarborough. They did most of the work themselves, careful to maintain the small lot in its natural state.\n\nWhen the children were grown she completed her education, becoming an LPN, and was then employed by Maine Medical Center and the Barron Center. In retirement Laura relocated to a peaceful wooded spot in Ripley, close to her beloved daughter Ellen. She treasured the solitude there and also loved the simple life at the family camp on Sebec Lake. Laura was happiest with Mother Nature as her companion and generously shared those interests with family and friends. She enjoyed many hiking and birdwatching trips, both solo travels and organized tours. The routes would be memorized - a map as fascinating as the trip itself.\n\nLaura was a shy reserved person with a deep intellect and an independent stoic nature. She was a voracious eclectic reader and a lifelong birdwatcher. We will miss her delicious, from scratch, Maine cooking - especially the cookies, and pies and multiple kinds of jams and jellies. Laura was an expert seamstress and enjoyed cross stitch. She never missed a daily newspaper or crossword puzzle (or a spelling or punctuation error!)\n\nIn her quiet and understated manner, Laura deeply cared for her loved ones. Her granddaughters each attribute their own strength and independence to their Grammy’s nature. She longed for a universe that was kind to animals and cared for the natural environment. She still grieved for “the best cat ever” Jamie, the last of many adored cats that shared her life. Laura will be remembered with much love and admiration.\n\nLaura is predeceased in death by her husband, Donald Cripps, her son, Terry Cripps, and daughter-in-law, Kathryn (Mullen) Cripps.\nLaura is survived by children, Laura “Laurie” Cripps and spouse Mark Miller of St. Louis Park MN, Ronald “Ron” Cripps of Scarborough, and Ellen Cripps of Ripley; grandchildren, Aiofe Zeleska and spouse Ariel, Lauren Cripps, Hannah Miller, and Sarah Ellen Miller; sister, Martha LeBel of Clifton Park NY, and brother, Albert B. "Albie" Hodson and spouse Barbara Heavey-Hodson of Westerly RI; nephews, R.A., Tom and Mic LeBel; grandnieces, Amy, Camden, Marley, and Remy; grandnephew, Luke. \n\nThe family would like to extend a special thank you to the exceptional staff of Liberty Island at the New Maine Veterans Home-Augusta, as well as Woodlands Senior Living of Waterville's staff, for their compassionate care of Laura.\n\nVisiting hours will be 1 to 3 p.m. on Friday, February 16, 2024, with a service at 3 p.m. at Conroy-Tully Walker Funeral Home, 172 State St., Portland. Burial will be at the Bowerbank Cemetery in early September, 2024.\n\nDonations honoring Laura's memory are appreciated; we suggest:\nAlley Cat Allies https://www.alleycat.org, \nDempsey Center (no cost supportive cancer care services) https://www.support.dempseycenter.org,\nMaine Society for Protection of Animals (equine rescue) https://email@example.com,\nNew Maine Veterans Home - Augusta 310 Cony Road, Augusta ME 04430 OR https://mainevets.charityproud.org,\nBowerbank Fire Department (Bowerbank’s fire service and Sebec Lake’s only fireboat) 648 Bowerbank Road, Bowerbank ME 04226.