Wilmette, Community

In Tribute: Services for Winnetka ‘hero’ set for Friday and Saturday, July 14-15

The community is mourning the loss of “a life lived with purpose. A life lived to serve for others. A life lived as a hero,” according to an obituary for Luke Laidley, a 43-year-old Winnetka man who drowned in Lake Michigan on on July 4.

Laidley dove off a boat to help children who fell into the water while tubing, Winnetka fire officials said.

Laidley was a father of three (Lucas, Vivian and Logan) and husband for 10 years to Lauren Laidley. The obit says he was an active parishioner with Saint Faith Hope and Charity in Winnetka, a finance professional and 9/11 survivor.

He was the son of Forrest and Diane Laidley; brother to Mary Sachs (Roland), Jeanne Whirry (Steve), Michael Laidley (Kathryn), Anne Sondalle (Craig), Maura Ziemann (Brandon); son-in-law of Joseph and Pamela Damico; brother-in-law to Lindsay Bianco (Joseph), and Joseph Damico (Christine); uncle to Kayla, Jack, and Will Sachs, Molly, Forrest, and Aidan Laidley, Graham and Patrick Sondalle, Campbell, Maeve, Siobhan, and Emmett Ziemann, Joey, Claire, and Jack Bianco, and Dominic and Dane Damico.

A visitation ceremony will be held from 4-8 p.m. on Friday, July 14, at McMurrough Funeral Chapel, 101 Park Place, in Libertyville. A funeral Mass for Laidley is scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday, July 15, at St. Joseph Catholic Church, 121 E Maple Ave., in Libertyville. For more information, call the funeral home at (847) 362-2626

“His smile lit up the room. He exuded positivity and perseverance with everything he did. He loved deeply and truly with all his heart,” the obituary says.

One of six children, Luke Laidley was born in Libertyville to Forrest and Diane Laidley.

He graduated Carmel Catholic High School in Mundelein and Boston College with a finance degree. At 21 years old, Laidley reportedly was working on the 61st floor in Tower 2 of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.

 “I encourage all of us to count our blessings each and every day,” Laidley later wrote. “Give of yourself and expect nothing in return. And become part of something that is greater than yourself.”

After moving to the Chicago area, Laidley coached high school football at Carmel and Loyola Academy in Wilmette. He and Lauren raised their family in Winnetka.

“Luke lived his life guided by his experiences and he had several that allowed him to bestow compassion, love, inspiration, and leadership to others,” according to the obituary. “He lived a hero’s song.”

The Record is a nonprofit, nonpartisan community newsroom that relies on reader support to fuel its independent local journalism.

Subscribe to The Record to fund responsible news coverage for your community.

Already a subscriber? You can make a tax-deductible donation at any time.

joe coughlin
Joe Coughlin

Joe Coughlin is a co-founder and the editor in chief of The Record. He leads investigative reporting and reports on anything else needed. Joe has been recognized for his investigative reporting and sports reporting, feature writing and photojournalism. Follow Joe on Twitter @joec2319

Related Stories