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Masterton Remembered As Pioneer & Mentor

Updated: Tuesday, February 18 2014, 06:34 PM EST
Laurey Masterton died Tuesday morning after her third fight with cancer. She was 59.

For more than two decades, Laurey's Catering has given us comfort food. On
the day of her passing, the emphasis is on the word "comfort" for
friends and loved ones.

"We asked that people write stories about Laurey," says Laurey's sister, Heather.

The handwritten notes on the wall speak to the sadness and a loss that leaves many grasping for words.   

"I would be nothing without your love," writes Micah Mackenzie of
Asheville. He says Laurey mentored him and gave him his first
photography show.

"She started a huge passion and lit a fire that will last the rest of my life," Mackenzie tells us.

Laurey was different things to different people. A mentor, a community leader,
and an inspiration who was determined to live life to the fullest
despite her battle with cancer.

She once rode her bike across the country to raise awareness, but never lost track of how she could help here at home.

Heather Masterton is so proud to hear examples of her sister's profound impact.

the first person that talked to me when I came to Asheville, she's the
first person who made a difference in my life," she says, recalling
stories of how Laurey helped someone.

Many believe there's no way downtown Asheville would be nearly as vibrant, without Laurey's spirit.

Clint Thorman is manager at Early Girl Eatery on Wall Street. He's one of
Laurey's former employees, who says she helped pave the way for so many
businesses downtown.

"I think she really was a pioneer for
downtown. She helped turn it around from a sketchy place," Thorman says.
"She brought joy everywhere she went."

Laurey gave all of us words to live by. Three of them, to be exact. "Don't Postpone Joy" sums up the local hero.

Podiatrist Dr. Daniel Waldman flashed that saying on his sign. His sister works at Laurey's catering.

"I think she's been a great person and a pillar of our community," Dr. Waldman says.

whether it's that trademarked phrase, or a heartfelt handwritten note,
each expression of love sums up a lifetime devoted to bringing out the
best in people.

Funeral services will be Saturday March 22 at 2 pm. It will be a Jubilee service conducted by Howard Hanger, hosted at the First Baptist church.

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