Laurie Tsuchiya

Laurie Larue Tsuchiya, 55, of Waco went to be with her Lord and Savior, having passed away peacefully at her home in China Spring on Saturday, November 2, 2019 after four years of struggling against cancer.

Memorial Service: 1:00 PM Saturday, November 16, 2019 at Lake Shore Funeral Home.

A short gathering of family and friends will take place following the service. Please dress casual.

Laurie was born in Waco on March 27, 1964 to Don and Sherry Castello. She graduated from Waco High and received her Bachelor’s degree in Geology and Master’s degree in Earth Science from Baylor. She sang in the choir and played basketball and volleyball at Waco High. She also played a year of volleyball for Baylor until a major knee injury curtailed her athletic endeavors.

On August 15, 1986 Laurie married Jim (Hinano) Tsuchiya after having met on the volleyball court at the former Waco Athletic and Racquet Club (Spenco). It was rumored that Jim had gotten her attention by attempting to bite her on the leg. During their early years of marriage, Laurie decided that if she wanted to see Jim on the weekends she would have to learn to play golf. She eventually was able to consistently shoot in the 80’s. Jim and Laurie took frequent ski trips, usually to areas in Colorado and New Mexico. Over time with a lot of practice (and tons of help from her favorite ski buddy) she became an advanced skier, always enjoying turning “eights” with Jim in fresh powder. They still have property in Pagosa Springs, CO.  She also loved visiting her in-laws, making multiple trips to Hawaii over the years.

Before a job transfer took them to Florida, Laurie taught at McLennan Community College. She then taught at Polk Community College in Winter Haven, FL and Valencia Community College in Orlando, FL. Another transfer landed them in Bakersfield, CA where Laurie became active in teaching elementary school science at Country Christian School. She enabled the school to expand a grade by becoming their fifth grade teacher. Both of their sons attended Country Christian. Two more moves got Laurie and expanded family to Louisiana then to Orange, TX where she taught at both Little Cypress-Mauriceville Junior High and High Schools. The moves just happened to coincide with her sons’ passage through those schools. Laurie used to say that Earl Thomas would never have made it to UT or the Seahawks without her help in math.

Laurie and family moved back to the Waco area in 2011 to be near her family. She of course, found a teaching position at LaVega High School and taught several math courses. At various times she coached basketball, volleyball and softball. But her greatest joy was to help those students who struggled the most with passing mandatory exams. She was instrumental in elevating the school’s state math test passing rates by over 30% during her first year there, and an additional 20% during her second year. It was in the classroom helping those that needed it most where she could repeatedly demonstrate the genuine caring and concern for her students’ success. She enjoyed teaching, but loved her students…well, most of them.

Laurie was preceded in death by her father Don Castello of Waco.

Laurie is survived by her husband, James H. Tsuchiya; sons; James Kahinano Tsuchiya (Becky) of Austin and Andrew Kale Tsuchiya of Waco; mother,  Sherry Castello of Waco; three brothers; Kenneth Castello (Diane) of Waco, Charlie Castello  (Amy) of Robinson and Bill (Steve) of Seattle, WA.

“Rue” will forever be remembered as one who made others’ lives better just by having known her. She was the most devoted wife and mother, the kindest and most generous friend, and the most committed teacher. All of this while never being able to deny a home to an animal in need.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that contributions be made to Fuzzy Friends of Waco and/or The LaVega Pirates Education Foundation in memory of Laurie Tsuchiya (www.piratesfoundation.org) or call 254-299-6729.

Place of Service: Lake Shore Funeral Home , 5201 Steinbeck Bend; Waco, TX 76708



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Condolence Messages

  1. We are so saddened to have lost such a wonderful person. Laurie was a treasure to all that had the good fortune to know her. She will be greatly missed and remembered. Our condolences to her family.
    Sincerely,
    Lewis, Michelle and Rylie Snell

  2. I JUST COULD NOT BELIEVE THIS NEWS, IT’S STILL AFFECTING ME. I LOVE LAURIE, TO ME SHE HAD A SPECIAL PLACE IN ALL OF OUR HEARTS. SHE WAS A BEAUTIFUL SPIRIT, GREAT BASKETBALL PLAYER, I WOULD ALWAYS COMPLIMENT HER AT SCHOOL. SHE SHALL FOREVER LIVE WITH US BE CAUSE OF THE TERRIFIC JOB THE PARENTS DID WITH HER..SHE IZ MY WACO HIGH TIGRESS 4/LIFE. .MY TEARS DROP FOR U STILL IN DIS- BELIEF. I’M GLAD THAT YOU ARE HAPPIER NOW BECAUSE YOU ARE WHERE WE ARE TRYING TO GET TO..I WILL MISS YOU. KEEP IT WARM FOR YOUR TIGER FAMILY..GOD BLESS YOUR MOM, DAD, HUSBAND, BROTHER, SISTER, TIGER FAMM, & ALL CONNECTED TO YOU..LUV U C U AT THE CROSS ROADS…SMOOCHEZ YOUR SISTA TIGRESS CHARLET DUFFEY…..

  3. Bridget Henderson Law

    Praying for the family of a really beautiful, loving, sweet, caring Laurie. She will be truly missed. Sending all my sympathy & love to hopefully comfort you.

  4. I miss and will forever love you mu beautiful friend.

  5. Baylor Scott & White Hospice

    The Baylor Scott & White Hospice team is thinking of you at this time. Thank you for allowing us to care for Mrs. Tsuchiya and please know you are in our thoughts and prayers.

  6. Ingrid Armstead

    Such a sweet, kind, gentle spirit!! You were loved by so many. I’m grateful that our paths crossed!
    See ya on the other side Darling🥰

  7. I am so sad to hear this. I remember Laurie from high school. She was always the nicest and sweetest person and I always saw a smile on her face. I know you are smiling down from heaven being with the Lord. Till we meet again some day. Sending my condolences and prayers to her family. God bless.

  8. LaDean Arnold Huser

    Laurie was such a loving person. She was my neighbor growing up and my classmate at Waco High. She and I played basketball together in junior high and she always kind to help me become a better athlete. I remember us trying out for cheerleader in 9th grade. She was such a sweet spirit and loved most everyone.
    Prayers for her family and friends. Go rest high on that mountain Laurie!
    She will be missed my many. It was just too soon for you to leave us. God needed another beautiful angel.

  9. LaDean Arnold Huser

    Laurie was such a loving person. She was my neighbor growing up and my classmate at Waco High. She and I played basketball together in junior high and she was always kind to help me become a better athlete. I remember us trying out for cheerleader in 9th grade. She had such a sweet spirit and loved most everyone.
    Prayers for her family and friends. Go rest high on that mountain Laurie!
    She will be missed my many. It was just too soon for you to leave us. God needed another beautiful angel.

  10. Elaine Richards Hellmund

    Beautiful inside and out, Laurie was a wonderful friend and like everyone else I’m heartbroken she had to leave us so early. Condolences and hugs to all the family.

  11. Ken,
    Im sorry to see the passing of your sister. You and your family will be in my thoughts and prayers. Sending you many hugs.
    Renate Mack

  12. Steve and Susan Hall

    Our thoughts and prayers are with you all.

  13. I will miss you always my sweet friend!!

  14. Prayers for the Family🙏🏽❤️ God Makes No Mistakes He Will Guide You Through This All🙏🏽

  15. Jennifer Dillard

    Laurie will be miss dearly. She was such a inspiration to
    us all on the tennis team. I enjoyed our time on and off the
    tennis courts. Love you and miss you 👼

  16. My husband David and I will always have fond memories of skiing with Laurie and Jim on a church trip in Colorado. She was always such a sweet person and our heart is breaking for the family. You’re all in our prayers.

  17. May God provide the comfort that this family needs. Laurie was a good person inside and out. She was a Waco High School Tiger family and I the pleasure of playing basketball with her. Your true Waco High spirit will be missed. Rest well my sister, for one day we shall awe your face again. Paula

  18. Melinda Eggenberger

    This is a beautiful remembrance of a beautiful spirit! Prayers for all the family! She will be forever in my heart.

  19. So sorry to hear of he loss of your beautiful Sister. You all are in my prayers.

  20. Such a precious friend in grade/high school and I am sure in adulthood as well. I use to say Laurie is a tough/bad white girl on the courts and I loved seeing her in action. Laurie was always so dear
    I am so saddened to hear of her passing, I am soo glad we were classmates and some what childhood friends. Laurie my bad white girl friend , I am truly going g to miss you. RIH dear friend

  21. My heart is hurting for you. Please know that you will all be in our thoughts and prayers, especially during this difficult time.

  22. My deepest heartfelt prayers for all. Laurie was the most fun to be around. She would always be smiling and joking around. Her big blue eyes danced with mischievousness. I sincerely love her and will never forget her. Much love to Jim and her family.

  23. Sha’Terrica Mitchell

    Love you forever and always.

  24. i love you so much coach watch over me 🤍 rest in paradise. i’ll make you proud my sweet sweet angel. 🥺💛🌻

  25. Aloha ke Akua

    the Kauai Tsuchiya family

  26. So sorry a bright shining star was here for such a short while. Prayers and comfort to the family. Shari Apperson

  27. So sorry a bright shining star was here for such a short while. Prayers and comfort to the family.

  28. Heartfelt condolences to the entire family. We’ll keep all of you in our thoughts and prayers.

  29. My heart is saddened, yet happy she is not suffering. I will always remember her smile, her kindness, and her love of children. We had such great times on the 500 hall and after school get togethers. Prayers for her family…

  30. Love this lady so much, and the whole family. She will always be remembered fondly. I will try and make it Saturday.

  31. Laurie, you were a beautiful person in every way possible. Your absence will make a huge hole in our hearts but our love and memories of you will fill it up. You are so loved, my friend.

  32. Veronica Gloeckner

    I will miss our talks, our hugs, your laughter, and the impact you’ve had on my life. My colleague, my mentor, my department chair, my sounding block, my beautiful friend – Laurie, you gave so much to so many selflessly. Keep a seat at the table for me when we meet again. Heaven has a bright, new angel.

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