Lauren Gabrielle Rousseau loved teaching young children. The precious daughter of Gilles and Teresa Rousseau, Lauren died Friday, Dec. 14 doing what she loved, along with the other innocent victims of the mass murder at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. Raised in the First Congregational Church UCC of Danbury, her life will be honored there. She was 30.
Lauren was known for her exuberance for life, love of family, her friendliness, kindness and loyalty, and her ever-present smile. She was hired as a permanent substitute teacher at Sandy Hook Elementary only weeks before her death.
Lauren was born in Danbury Hospital on June 8, 1982. She was schooled in Danbury, where in high school her greatest joys were singing and dancing in the yearly musical and teaching in the school-based nursery school.
She graduated from the University of Connecticut at Storrs in 2004 with a degree in English and psychology, and earned a master's degree in elementary education from the University of Bridgeport.
She did her year-long teaching internship at Roberts Avenue School, some of it in the same classroom where she had been a first-grader. Lauren did her student teaching at John Pettibone School in New Milford, and later worked as a substitute teacher in Danbury, New Milford and Newtown.
From her college years on, she worked in catering at Fox Hill Inn in Brookfield, and during the past few years she also worked at the Starbucks coffee shop at Exit 1 in Danbury.
She leaves her disbelieving immediate family: Teresa Rousseau and Bill Leukhardt of Danbury and Gilles and Joyce Rousseau of Southbury, and siblings Matthew Rousseau of Brooklyn, New York; Andrew Rousseau of Danbury; Nathaniel Leukhardt of Waterbury; Emily Leukhardt of Bristol; and Andrew Leukhardt of Providence, Rhode Island.
She is also mourned by Anthony Lusardi III of Cortlandt Manor, New York, the love of her life.
Lauren Rousseau's memorial service is Thursday Dec. 20 at First Congregational Church UCC, Danbury, Conn. at 11:00 am.