Laura-Anne Sammarco, age 60, died peacefully at her sister’s home on Friday, April 17, 2020, in Hackensack, NJ, while with family. Laura-Anne grew up in Allenhurst and Interlaken, NJ, but always had the heart of a wanderer. From a very young age, she insisted on living life on her own terms.
She studied photography at Antioch College, graduating with a diploma in one hand, and a baby in the other. She then made her way in life as a single mother, building a career that moved her incrementally across the country from Brooklyn, to Texas, and finally the San Francisco Bay area where she lived for over thirty years.
Laura-Anne started her career at stock photo houses, and ended up working for various companies in the Silicon Valley as a project manager. She used her artistic skills to develop branding and manage graphic artists, making a stellar reputation for herself.
While she had a very successful career, this was definitely not her passion. It was impossible for Laura-Anne to sit still. She biked and ran, but swimming was her great love. If she was late to arrive somewhere, it was probably because she had to squeeze in a swim. The pool would do, but she got in an ocean any chance she could and entered countless open water swims, triathlons, and even the swim from Alcatraz a handful of times. She loved coming back to New Jersey in the summer to see family and swim in the ocean, getting as much sand on her as possible.
She took every opportunity to travel, especially to Hawaii, and anywhere involving water, like a swim tour of Croatia. Her favorite traveling companion was her daughter, Kendra. They went to Hawaii together many times, and had incredible experiences swimming with and appreciating sea life, including dolphins and whales in the wild. Laura-Anne also had a wide network of friends that she made on swim teams, swim expeditions, and travel groups. She made the most out of endless work trips around the world, which was her favorite way to gather interesting gifts for everyone and squirrel them away. She always got excited about gifts, both giving and receiving. Her method was to buy something she truly loved and wanted, then give it away as a gift. Many of her family’s favorite items are the things that she gave them.
Laura-Anne’s free time on dry land was largely consumed by her love of animals. When she wasn’t squeezing them, she was helping them survive. She volunteered at several animal shelters and fostered (and foster failed) dogs and cats. Through her long time job at Cisco Systems, she became a part of an organization that cared for and relocated cats on the Cisco campus and surrounding bay area, Good Home Animal Society. She drafted programs, managed administrative activities, and was an enormous advocate of the organization.
Laura-Anne returned to New Jersey in July to be close to family that could help care for her. However, she left behind in California another family of friends and neighbors who were tremendous support while she battled cancer.
Laura-Anne is predeceased by her mother, Laura, and father, Carl. She is survived by her daughter, Kendra, and her siblings, Maria-Rose, Carl and Michele, Maria-Rose’s husband Ralph, Carl’s wife Jill and her two nieces and a nephew. Laura-Anne was interred at Steelmantown Cemetery in Cape May, New Jersey on April 23rd during a private ceremony. The family hopes to have a celebration of life when society reopens. Donations can be made in her name to Good Home Animal Society, 530 Showers Drive, Suite 7191, Mountain View, CA 94040-1457, https://www.