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Lake Forest Obituary: Audrey Vanderaa, 78

A devoted member and volunteer at First Presbyterian Church, she was also active in the Lake Forest Historical Society where she directed interviews for the oral history program.

Courtesy of Wenban Funeral Home
Courtesy of Wenban Funeral Home
The following obituary is from Wenban Funeral Home:

Audrey M. Counte Vanderaa of Lake Forest died April 24, 2014 after a long battle with cancer. She was 78 years old.

Born in Chicago in 1935 to Laura and Michael Counte and raised in the south suburbs, she attended Thornton Township High School and Purdue University where she was a Chi Omega.

She met her former husband Gilbert T. Vanderaa (deceased) freshman year in high school when he told the vivacious Audrey "I'm going to marry you one day!" He did when they eloped senior year in college keeping the true date of their marriage a secret from their families for decades. 

Audrey worked her way through college singing and working summers at the historic Hotel Moraine On-the-Lake. Among the musicians who performed at the Moraine was Dave Brubeck who, upon meeting her, told her he would play a song for her. That evening the jazz artist played his song “Audrey.”

During those summers on Lake Michigan she fell in love with the beautiful North Shore moving there in 1965 to raise her family.

In Lake Forest where she lived for over 40 years she was active in the Historical Society, taking great pride in the oral history program she directed interviewing many old Lake Foresters about their memories of the city's early days. She was on the Caucus committee and the Library Board, enjoyed the Women's Republican Club, the Art Institute Associates, Gorton, and the Lake Forest Hospital Chaplaincy.

But her most meaningful work was through the First Presbyterian Church where over the years she served as an Elder, Stephen Minister, chair of the Mission and Memorials Committees, faithful bible study leader and participant, member of the Chancel Guild, I Have a Dream, History and Archives Committees, and helped to found the Memorial Garden where she will be buried. 

She is survived by her daughter Laura Vanderaa Luce (Geoffrey) of Lake Forest, her son Gilbert T. Vanderaa III (Emily) of Aspen, CO, three grandchildren, Miranda Counte Luce, Jonathan Vanderaa Luce, and Colby Elizabeth Vanderaa, her sister Judith C. Bogue of Madison, WI, and her brother Michael A. Counte of St. Louis, MO. A memorial service will be held at 3:00 p.m. Friday, May 23, 2014 at The First Presbyterian Church of Lake Forest.

Info - Wenban Funeral Home, www.wenbanfh.com or 847-234-0022.

Contributions may be sent to: The First Presbyterian Church of Lake Forest, Audrey Vanderaa Oral History Archives, 700 N. Sheridan Road, Lake Forest, IL 60045. 

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