Laura Otey

September 8, 1947October 7, 2018


With her servant’s heart, her joyful laugh, and her faith-born hope, Laura Sanders Otey has always made us smile, touched our hearts, and inspired us with her confidence in what is and what will be. On October 7, 2018, Laura went to be with the Lord she loves deeply and well.

Laura was 71 years young and leaves a special family, countless friends, and an untold number of students and families whose lives she has impacted throughout her life and career.

Laura was born on September 8, 1947 to R.L. and Jean Sanders in Austin, Texas.

She spent most of her years growing up in Houston. Laura attended Central Church of Christ with her family. After graduating from Lamar High School, she attended Abilene Christian College. Laura continued her education and earned a double Masters degree in Education Administration and Counseling from Southwest Texas State University. She continued her education by becoming a certified mediator and mediation trainer. Her career spanned 41 years as an educator, primarily in the Austin Independent School District, where she was a Special Education teacher and Administrator. She retired from Austin ISD on December 18, 2009 but continued serving when needed as a temporary administrator. Laura had a second career from 1991 until the present as a Conflict Resolution educator and trainer where she taught at many places including ACU, SMU, University of Arkansas Little Rock, St. Edwards, and the Austin Dispute Resolution Center. And once, on the side, she and Bob started a business selling left-handed items. Left-handed people are still grateful.

On June 7, 1980, Laura married the love of her life, Bob Otey. Laura and Bob loved life together while sharing their professional commitment to education. She wholeheartedly embraced his children and raised them as her own. Laura and Bob were the perfect team.

Laura was a woman of great faith. She possessed a heart to serve others, especially families and churches that were living in chaos, uncertainty and conflict. She has been an advocate for the voiceless, the invisible, the powerless and the overlooked. She was a lifetime learner.

Laura is survived by her husband, Bob, of 38 years. Their children Robb Otey and wife Serisa, Matt Otey and wife, Trisha, and Kirstin Otey. Grandchildren, Taylor and Kyle Otey, Harold, Mathis, Quinton and Wesley Otey and Trajan and Ryan Lewis. Her brother, Steve Sanders, and sister Lisa Higgason and husband, Steve. As well as, her nieces and nephews, Stephanie, Cory and Cassidy Sanders and Caitlin and Brock Higgason.

It is no small thing to finish this part of our life well. And Laura has. While she is not present with us now, she will always be with us through the family, friends, and legacy of love she leaves behind.

Matthew 5:8-9 Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God.


  • Dispute Resolution Center


  • Memorial Service Saturday, October 20, 2018

Laura Otey

have a memory or condolence to add?

Laura Peddicord

March 31, 2019

I am so very sorry to learn about the loss of Laura. I first met her in 2010 when I took all 3 of her Facilitation trainings in Houston. She was so encouraging and supportive of me as I was the only parent in her classes filled with school employees from around Texas. When finished with those trainings she contacted me to take her mediation classes which were over in Austin this time. I wouldn’t have missed that opportunity for anything! I cannot begin to tell you how much I learned from her personally and from her classes. She touched my heart and inspired me to continue helping others as she always did. Sadly we lost contact shortly thereafter, but she will always hold a special place in my heart as one of the nicest and caring people I have ever met.

Connie Porter

October 20, 2018

Laura was a true blessing! She lives on in my heart~

Patricia (Fuller) Tyler

October 20, 2018

We each have those few special friends who come into our lives making us feel as though we’ve known them for a very long time!
Laura’s circle of friends became her legacy. Laura welcomed me with open arms into AISD and was a constant source of support and encouragement. I can still picture Laura walking out of her office to greet me knowing clearly that I was bringing her a “problem” to help me solve. But as I followed her into her office, I just knew her calm intuitive nature would guide me to a positive result every time!

Mediation Training with Laura was unforgettable and a lifelong learner’s dream for all of us. But the highlight of that training for me was watching Laura and Bob work together! They brought some magic in that room with undeniable evidence that they were partners in love, life, learning and leadership!

And then there was their lake “dream house”.....
Laura’s face lit up when she talked about the plans she and Bob had for their forever home!
The pictures she shared during construction were as as exciting as the finished product!!
“Come on over,” she would say.......”We will sit outside overlooking the lake and solve the problems of the world. Bring your boat!”

I am surprised and saddened by the loss of Laura. I wish there had been some way I could have reached out to her during what must have been a difficult time! As life’s challenges continue, I know my thoughts will bring that smile to Laura’s face when I ponder WWLD!(What Would Laura Do). I know she’s got to be giving me that “look” right now!

Rest In Peace, Laura. We love you! ❤️

Steve Hamman

October 20, 2018

Laura was a passionate and inspired educator and leader. She was a wonderful mentor and friend to me over the many years we served together in Austin ISD. I will always be grateful that she so willingly shared her experience, strength and hope with me when I assumed the role she had previously held. She was a person that never stopped learning, growing and offering herself in service to others. Laura’s life was a life of purpose, a life of service and a life well lived. I send prayers of peace and comfort to Bob and all of the family.

Laura Arldt

October 19, 2018

Bob - I just saw Mike Wallace and he shared with me what happened - I had NO idea.
I am shocked and absolutely heartbroken for you and your family. Although I didn't know Laura really well, the times I did spend with her (and you) were lovely. I especially remember the time y'all invited us Concordia folks out to the lake house - that was so great. She was very welcoming and hospitable, and a gentle, friendly soul.

Know that my sincere prayers of comfort and condolence are with you.
Laura's heavenly home was finally ready, so take heart in knowing she's not truly gone - she's just living there now.

In Faith, Hope, and Love -
Laura and James Arldt

Glenda Embree

October 17, 2018

Dear Bob and family, what sad news to hear of Laura. As a student at St. Edward's in the Conflict Resolution program, I was deeply impressed with her commitment and dedication to the field and to each student on a personal level. She was always engaging, committed, and encouraging to those of us beginning to explore the field. Years later, our paths crossed again only to still present the same energy, enthusiasm and dedication.

To the family, life is forever changed. How blessed we all were to have Laura share some aspect of our lives.

Kris Donley

October 17, 2018

When I joined the Dispute Resolution Center in January 1994, Laura was one of a handfull of “mediation stakeholders” that I met with that year. Long identified to me as one of the pioneering spirits of the community mediation movement, I counted on her support and leadership at AISD during those formative years as the field progressed. Twenty years later, our paths entertwined, again, as she and her husband, Bob took the reins of our basic and advanced mediator training service—-bringing new insights, expertise and unfailing professionalism in their delivery. Laura exuded passion and competence in her pursuit of teaching us all how to be mediators. But what I will miss most are our shared lunch banter and swapped stories on our latest Navaho silver jewelry finds. Laura could find the most incredible silversmithed works of art.

The mediation community will miss this truly bright spirit and her contributions to the field, and I will miss those lively, sparkling lunches.

Darleen Gilmore

October 17, 2018

I have only known Laura for a short while, but loved her spirit and her smile. God bless the family who I'am sure will miss her dearly.

Lisa Weger

October 16, 2018

I've had the privilage of knowing Laura for decades and working with her more closely over the last few years. She was a dedicated champion for mediation, and a skilled instructor. I loved watching her teach mediation skills to people. She was engaging, creative, witty, humorous and thorough. Aside from work she was a thoughtful and loving friend. I miss her. I pray love and comfort to Bob and all who were hers.

Bruce Kravitz

October 15, 2018

I feel honored to have met Laura (and her husband Bob) as I began my journey into mediation back in 2010. I learned so much from Laura's training classes and her dedication to promoting the practice of mediation through her love of teaching and sharing about how to be peacemaker. I will always remember Laura's dedication and passion for making this world a better place. She will be missed but will remain forever in my memories. I send my love and prayers to Bob and all her family and relatives.