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Laura J Nation, Teacher Extraordinaire
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Laura J Nation was born Laura Jean Davidson on July 11, 1916 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She was the first of six children of Rhonda Ninde Swayne (1885-) and Henry Edwin Davidson (1887-1981). [The Swayne family traces its genealogy back to 17th century England].
Growing up on East Coal Avenue in Albuquerque, Laura seems to of been closest to her sister Margaret who was just two years younger. The Davidson sisters did well in school and were interested in music and Girl Scouts.
Laura went to the University of New Mexico and graduated from there in 1940. In 1941, while in Tennessee, she met Olin Pascal Nation. They were married in September of that year. Following the Pearl Harbor attack in December of 1941, Olin joined the Army Air Corps, and served the duration of the war at the rank of captain.
In December 1944, Laura's brother, Henry Edwin Davidson, Jr., a Navy Ensign, was lost in the Pacific near the Philippines. He was 22 years old.
After the war, Olin and Laura Nation moved to Albuquerque, where he worked as a builder for his father-in-law Henry Davidson. Later, Olin started his own construction company. Laura became a teacher. She was assigned to Sandia Base Elementary School, located at the semi-secret atomic weapons base on Albuquerque's southeast edge. She became one of the most popular teachers at the school.
Laura and Olin Nation had four daughters: Cheryl [married name: Touryan], Laura Kathleen ("Kay") [Willadsen], Mary Alice [Higbie], and Alma O'Lynne [Robb]. The Nation family were very active in their church, Heights Cumberland Presbyterian, and participated in Young Life and Inter-Varsity activities.
Mrs. Nation was a teacher who remained engaged with her students long after they left elementary school, often being invited to and attending their weddings, their children's graduations, first communions, and bar mitzvahs.
Laura Jean Davidson Nation passed away on February 25, 1996 in her hometown of Albuquerque. She is buried alongside her husband Olin at Santa Fe National Cemetery, in Santa Fe, New Mexico.