Laura Tiffany (McTevia) Bess, of Orofino, passed away on Thursday, April 20, 2023, with her loved ones by her side after a long, courageous battle with cancer. She fought so hard to be able to spend more time with her loved ones, especially her kids. She continued to be her upbeat cheerful self to the end.
Laura was born on May 15, 1975, to Tim and Mary McTevia in Victorville, CA. The family moved to Orofino in 1979 and then to Big Bear Lake, CA. In 1980 Laura started kindergarten in Big Bear Lake, CA. The family moved back to Orofino in 1980 where she attended school through her senior year, graduating in 1993. She was an active cheerleader at OHS, lettered in Track, and sang in the choir. Laura wanted to help her ill grandmother, so she became a CNA and worked at the Orofino Care Center during high school where she developed her love for nursing.
When she was 16, the peppy cheerleader became unlikely friends with the captain of the basketball team, Michelle (Platt) Smith, and they would be lifelong best friends. The two shared many adventures together over the years, including weddings, babies, and travel- recently with a trip to Europe in 2019, and a trip down the Pacific Coast in 2021.
After graduating high school, Laura enlisted in the Navy, and was one of the first women ever stationed on the USS Abraham Lincoln – an aircraft carrier. Aboard the Lincoln she would get to see a lot of the world and often told fond memories of her time in the Persian Gulf. While on the Lincoln, she met and married Frank Kaminski, and in 1997, her first son, Michael was born while the family lived in Everett, WA. Soon after the family moved to Lewiston, and their daughter, Rebekah (Bekah) was born. After a few years, the family moved to Bothell, WA, where the couple would later divorce.
Laura was proud to be a single mom and went to school to receive her Associates Degree from Shoreline Community College in 2005, and studied Nursing at Everett Community College, graduating with her RN degree in 2007. She worked several different nursing jobs, and she loved the work she did. She especially loved working with children in hospitals.
In 2008, she met the love of her life, Chris Bess. It was an immediate connection and love bloomed quickly. Laura moved to Tennessee to be with her love, and they lived there for just over two years. Chris and Laura were married in 2008, and the next year their son, Isaac was born, completing their family. They moved to Orofino in 2012 where they have been ever since.
Besides her busy career, Laura was an avid scrapbooker and card maker, making unique cards for everyone she knew and loved. She loved art and took up painting in recent years as well.
In 2019, Chris and Laura went on a trip to Europe with Michelle and her husband, Matt, where Laura got to visit her dream destination- Paris, as well as Scotland and Ireland. Laura was not feeling her best on that trip, and later that year, she was diagnosed with Neuroendocrine small cell cancer. She was determined to fight this with everything she had. She was given a diagnosis of two years, but she blew past that like the warrior she was. She continued to fight to the best of her ability to be able to see her youngest son grow up.
The cancer forced her to retire from Regence Blue Cross, which was a disappointment, but she was glad to spend extra time with her family and friends.
Laura was preceded in death by her adored big brother, Tom McTevia who Laura referred to as her guardian angel, all 4 grandparents, and 3 uncles.
She is survived by her loving husband; Chris Bess, her children; Michael Kaminski, Rebekah Kaminski, and Isaac Bess, parents; Mary Thompson McTevia and Tim McTevia, many cousins and aunts and uncles, and her best friend Michelle (Matt) Smith.
We will miss Laura always but were extremely fortunate that she was and will always be a part of our lives and our hearts.
A small service will be held for immediate family and close friends.
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