Laura Osborne Altshul

laura altshul

January 30, 1941 ~ January 17, 2024

Born in: Brooklyn, NY
Resided in: Hamden, CT

Laura Osborne Altshul, age 82, most recently of Hamden, sadly left us on Wednesday, January 17, 2024 after a long battle with ovarian cancer. 


Beloved by all, Laura was born in Brooklyn, NY on January 30, 1941, to the late Charles and Frances Zuckerman. Laura graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in English from Vassar College in 1963, where she nurtured her life-long passion for literature and the written word. In the mid-1960s, she moved from Greenwich Village to New Haven, where over many decades she became a vital part of the fabric of the New Haven community. She later received a Master’s degree from the University of New Haven. 


She began her career in 1970 as a Kindergarten teacher at the Foote School, a position she held for the next 23 years. During this period she started the Foote Summer Program, which exists today as Horizons at Foote, and affected the lives of hundreds of young learners. In 1993 she became the Director of Admissions at Foote, a position she held until her retirement in 2013.


Laura is survived by her devoted husband of 39 years, Victor Altshul, a brother, Marc Zuckerman (Jan) of Hokitika, New Zealand; three loving sons, Matthew Osborne of New Haven, Mark Osborne of Brooklyn, and Seth Osborne of New Haven; four stepchildren, Michael Altshul (Stephanie) of Willimantic, Peter Altshul also of Willimantic, Jonathan Altshul of West Chester, PA, and Katherine Darci (Eric) of Boston. She is also survived by eleven grandchildren, Njambi, Maya, Yana, Zeke, Sydney, Samuel, Ethan, Zachary, Alice, George and Stuart. Finally, she is also survived by her former daughter-in-law Yollanda London, whose dedication to Laura and her family has been exemplary. 


Laura will be remembered for many things: as an indefatigable jogger on the sidewalks of the East Rock neighborhood every morning at the crack of dawn; as an intrepid traveler flying off to New Zealand to visit her beloved brother and family on the South Island; as an educator, mentor and leader at Foote and throughout the New Haven nonprofit community; as a published poet giving readings in bookstores throughout Connecticut; and, of course, as a mother, grandmother, colleague and friend to so many. Most of all, she enjoyed spending long summer days with Vic at their second home in Weston, Vermont, entertaining old friends, taking long runs, and devouring great fiction. 


Laura battled her cancer with the same tenacity and fearlessness with which she lived her life. Cancer would knock her down, but every time it did, she’d stand back up more determined than ever. After three and a half years the disease had progressed too far, but she remained cheerful, warm and hopeful until the end. 


Laura was passionate about many causes and served on the boards of many local organizations. She was the co-founder and founding Board Chair of Horizons at Foote, a summer learning program for New Haven youths of all backgrounds, focused on developing early literacy, math and STEAM skills. She also served on the board of Music Haven, a tuition-free music program for area youths with a passion for playing and performing classical music. She was also a board member of the New Haven Road Race, in which she participated for many years.


A service honoring her life will be held at Beecher and Bennett Funeral Service, 2300 Whitney Avenue, Hamden, CT at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, January 27th. A recording of the service is available for viewing at this link (Due to technical difficulties, the first few minutes of the opening remarks are unavailable. We apologize for the inconvenience): Laura Osborne Altshul Memorial Service. Please use passcode ?pP8=H4m for access. In lieu of flowers, Laura has asked that donations in her honor be made to Horizons at Foote School, 50 Loomis Place, New Haven, CT 06511.


Funeral Service: January 27, 2024 2:00 pm

Beecher & Bennett Funeral Service - Hamden
2300 Whitney Avenue
Hamden, CT 06518


View current weather.

Memories Timeline


  1. Deepest condolences to the family for your loss. The Early Childhood Community has lost a great leader, trailblazer, & mentor. Laura’s dedication to children, teachers, parents, & Foote School was boundless. She will be missed by all.

  2. A wonderful woman with a wonderful family. May the joy that she brought to the world be your strength and comfort. I remember, we all remember. Beauty and grace last forever. Love, Sandra Draper

  3. Laura was such an inspiration – to adults and students alike. She always found the best in people, and she helped people to find the best in themselves. Her family, so beloved by her, have lost such a treasure. So has everyone who knew her.
    My sincere condolences.
    Charlotte Murphy

  4. I was one of Laura’s kindergarten students at Foote in 1982. I have so many great memories from her classroom, and she had a strong impact on my early experiences as a student. Her classroom is where I really have my earliest school memories. From word cans that helped me learn how to read and write, to cooking projects, to feeding lettuce and banana to the class turtle, snuggling up in the classroom loft, and delighting in watching Pees-a-Lot the guinea pig run around its big windowed cage. I remember her warmth, huge smile, and hugs, helping my nervous and teary 5 yr old self transition into the classroom each day. She had endless energy and positivity, always showing us she believed in us and knew we could do the hard things-traits that I appreciate even more now that I am a teacher myself. Thank you, Laura, for giving me such a wonderful first school experience, and for being my first and lasting model of what a great teacher is.
    Alicia Horwitz

  5. Laura was an inspiration, a mentor, a colleague, a friend and a guide on the path of early childhood education for me when I began my career teaching at Foote School in 1970. She also was a resource for my husband Bob and me as parents of two daughters who were lucky to be in her kindergarten.

    Laura was a force to be reckoned with – smart, energetic, knowledgeable about child development, curriculum and kids; creative, supportive, hopeful and strong. I learned so much about teaching from her, not only by observing, but through the professional, loving care and education in evidence every day our girls were in her classroom. Laura’s was first among the examples that were instrumental in all aspects of my design for Calvin Hill’s Kitty Lustman-Findling Kindergarten, which opened in 1983. She shared generously her expertise and wisdom and provided a model of progressive, child-centered education in an aesthetically beautiful environment. In her kindergarten there were plants, animals, a loft, painting and a robust literacy curriculum where our girls learned to read through a method that put their ideas as central to the endeavor as phonics. And always there was a warm and nurturing relationship. Laura trusted the children to be learners, and of course they were.

    Laura was also a colleague instrumental in providing professional development, hands-on workshops and intellectual stimulation for scores of teachers, through the Teacher Center we helped to found, as well as the New Haven Association for the Education of Young Children. Her pumpkin tea bread, featured with many of her other recipes in the Teacher Center Cookbook, is still a family favorite and is in fact a staple in many childcare programs in New Haven.

    The influence Laura Altshul has had on education, teachers, children and parents in New Haven and much further afield is extraordinary. And there are so many other areas to which she brought her skills, her talents and her bright light. We will miss her deeply, and are grateful for the privilege of knowing, working alongside and loving her.

  6. Laura was a lovely human being, and a beautiful poet. I count myself most fortunate to have known her and having the chance to share our poetry. Sending much love to dear Victor, and to all Laura’s family, at this time of great loss and sorrow.

  7. Laura was my kindergarten teacher in 1984/1985. I LOVED her. The joy, comfort and safety I felt every morning when she greeted us is something that has been with me ever since. I remember the loft in her classroom, which I just learned a parent had built. I remember her love for her students; baking cookies; exploring the world together. I don’t think she ever yelled- not once. As a teacher now myself, I find that remarkable. She was that educator, though. The teacher who did everything and made it look easy. I cried a lot when I heard of her passing. It hit harder than I would have perhaps imagined. I am just grateful for her, and for having had the opportunity to learn from her at such a young and impressionable age. She lived the greatest kind of life, it seems: one in which she mentored, supported and inspired legions of people to be the best versions of themselves. ❤️

  8. Laura was my Kindergarten teacher. I was painfully shy when I entered in class, and she kindly guided me to learning how to talk to people. She told me that while I had tested into the “highest” reading level, I could only be in this grouping if I started talking. It worked, and I never stopped talking since. I remember her warmth and some wonderful aspects to her Kindergarten room are my earliest memories. May her memory be a blessing.

  9. it was a wonderful celebration of life to Vic, you must have had a wonderful life with Laura and have to cherish the many memories and years you had together. As one gets older, they wonder if they had any positive effect on others and it was truly apparent that Laura deeply touched many. May we all have similar things said about us.

  10. Oh, Victor, I truly do not know how to express my condolences or great sadness. Over the years that we became friends, I truly grew to love you and Laura very, very much. I always felt it was such a blessing when I got to see you. My deepest and most sincere condolences, Vic. I am so very sorry. I love you, Laura. I love you, Vic.
    With great sadness,
    John Stanizzi

Sign the Guestbook, Light a Candle

Accessibility Tools