In memory of

Laura Michaels Davis

Sep 6, 1963
Feb 2, 2024


Laura Michaels Davis was a woman with many lifetimes, and her current one came to an end on February 2nd, 2024, after a 2-year fight with brain cancer. She was surrounded by her chosen family at her home in Salem, Oregon.

She was born September 6th, 1963, in Portland, Oregon, and given the name Lauren Michael Davis. She was the 5th and youngest child, born a little boy, 9 pounds, 14oz, and 23 inches long.  

Laura had what she considered to be an all-American boyhood. She rode bikes, climbed trees, played baseball, had a paper route, learned her way around cars and trucks. She attended Saint Therese Elementary and claimed the title of the fastest 14-year-old BMX racer! Next, she attended Central Catholic High School and dedicated time to football, track, and weightlifting. She graduated Class of 1981.

Laura was lucky enough to marry her high school sweetheart, Terri Straight, in 1985 and spent 22 years raising a family together. Laura was an extremely proud father to two daughters. One of her proudest accomplishments as a father was getting her eldest daughter through a battle with leukemia in 2001. She recounted this as the most transformative and inspirational time of her life. In 2002, she started training in taekwondo where she received 2 black belts and became an instructor at Choi's TKD Academy. Her experience in taekwondo led her to massage school where she became licensed in 2008, although she never worked in the field. This time coincided with her divorce, and she spent the following years putting time into her original career, transportation for Pepsi. A strong work ethic is something she had nurtured her entire life. Her first job at age 10 was a paper route, where she delivered the morning paper on her bicycle. In high school, she worked at the Minute Mart and at an egg company, loading eggs into trucks. She attended PCC diesel school in 1981 and started her career as a truck driver. Laura started in 1983 loading trucks for Interstate. In 1986, she moved to Wymore, then back to Interstate before landing with Pepsi in 1999. For Pepsi, she drove trucks until 2015 where she moved to Mt Angel and was able to work in the beverage canning factory. She continued working there until her forced medical retirement in 2022. She said getting out of the truck and into the factory was a time to truly become herself. She finally had control of her work hours and environment and was able to explore her gender and pursue her interests.

Laura was the life of any party and loved to go out socializing. She spent so many weekends at gay bars in Portland and Salem and still proudly kept her 34 years of sobriety. She enjoyed singing karaoke and dancing, and everyone loved to sing and dance with her! Many of her friends can tell of a time where she would share inspiration and an understanding ear in the smoking section of the establishment. Being in her light was such a magical feeling, and friends flocked to her and her positive attitude. Her weekends in these beautifully queer spaces are where she was able to build connections with her community and the self-confidence in herself to come out as a proud transgender woman. In 2019 she was able to step fully into the light of herself and proclaim - "This is me! I am Laura!" and was met with acceptance.

It came as a shock in January 2022 when she was diagnosed with brain cancer, glioblastoma multiforme. In true Laura fashion, this only strengthened her resolve to live life as large as possible. She focused her efforts on her relationships with her older sister, Teresa, her eldest daughter, Kristi, her long-term partner, Snarfy, and her group of friends and chosen family in Salem. Laura was able to travel extensively locally, including many trips to the coast and central Oregon, and up into Washington. She visited the redwoods in California, New York City to visit cousins and ride bikes in Central Park, Sedona, AZ, as a gift from the Dream Foundation, and attended the NHRA drag races in Pomona, CA. At the time of her passing, she was planning a final trip to Thailand, which her sister and daughter will take in her honor.

Laura inspired everyone until her very last moment, and everyone who knows her will carry her memory in their hearts forever.

Her memorial will be held at Pringle Hall in Salem, OR, on Saturday, March 2nd, from 2-4 pm.

Service Information

Memorial Service
Saturday, March 2nd, 2024 2-4pm
Pringle Hall
606 Church St SE, Salem, OR 97301

Messages of Sympathy

  1. Brittany Patrick says:

    As the child who wasn’t mentioned in this obituary, I will miss the good times that we had… And I will honor what I said, and go on a trip to spread your ashes somewhere truly beautiful. I’m glad you are no longer in pain, and wish that you hadn’t gone out this way, because I still had hope for our relationship.

  2. Barbara J. Castle.............may i attend her memorial, plz, on march 2; says:

    i truly wish I had known this lady; she was a delght, to so many. thx for this wonderful bio; it leaves me;wanting more from her............xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  3. Teresa Davis says:

    I miss you. Thank you for being my sister. Living life without you will definitely not be the same adventure. But your sunshine ☀️ will live on in all the beautiful people you touched. Love you to the moon and beyond.

  4. Kimberly Johnston says:

    I will miss the kind and thoughtful conversations with Laura. We had a bond through trucking and trans lives. Go in peace, my friend.

  5. Snarfy says:

    I miss you so badly today.

  6. Kristina Montoya says:

    I was also one of Laura’s hospice nurses and the little time I knew her, really made me look at people who are different than me in a different light. She was so forgiving, patient, and kind even when she was hurting and we didn’t have the answers to her problems. She was definitely a special person and her stories made my work feel like a visit with an old friend, not so much like work. It was truly an honor to get to serve her and her family/friends who were absolutely inspiring the way they cared for her. Thank you for allowing me to journey with you Laura!

  7. Lisa McCulloch says:

    I was one of Laura’s Hospice nurses and am so glad I got to know her for a short while. She was truly a light in this world and will be missed.

  8. Corey cowles says:

    I’m so sad that the chance to dance together at the south side speakeasy never came about again for us but I’ll never forget your smile and endearing nature. Thank you for showing the world who you are and never looking back!

  9. Anne Neuville Kidd says:

    Will miss your laughter and friendship that didn’t change along the way

  10. Staff of Johnson Funeral Home says:

    Thank you for trusting Johnson Funeral Home with her arrangements.

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