Laura Jean Kleiber Yavelow, a medical technologist and epidemiologist, died unexpectedly of a rare neurological disease at Solace Hospice on July 16, 2014. Laura lived with her husband, Chris, in Skyland (South Asheville), North Carolina.

She was an immunization consultant for the NC-DHS (14 years) before founding a clinical research monitoring company devoted to studies in infectious disease, vaccines, and cardiology (15 years). Since 2009, she worked as an editor for her husband’s publishing company, and she was Executive Editor for the Camino Quarterly, the first English-language magazine about the Pilgrimage of St. James. 

Born in Baltimore County, MD, Laura was a graduate of Dulaney High School, Towson University (Magna cum laude), and the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, where she received her master’s degree in Epidemiology and Health Planning & Administration. She was a member of the honor societies Beta Beta Beta, Phi Theta Kappa, and Pi Lambda Theta.

Laura served on the Asheville Tree Commission for six years, and, at the time of her death, she was an active member of the Asheville Gideons Auxiliary, for which she served as Vice President.

She loved singing and dancing, both as a spectator and as a performer. In Asheville, she performed in the musical Quilters and was a former member of WomanSong. She enjoyed being an extra in movies filmed in and around Asheville, and she was one of the ballroom dancers in the movie Dirty Dancing.

In 2008, she reconnected with Chris Yavelow at their high school reunion. The couple had grown up two blocks apart and attended the same schools since 1st grade, usually seated next to one another. In their years apart, they had developed identical interests, habits, and beliefs and were truly soulmates. They married in 2009 and traveled extensively in the USA, the Caribbean, Central America, and Europe. Avid hikers, in 2012, they walked much of the Camino de Santiago (The Way of St. James), the increasingly popular 500-mile pilgrimage across Spain—according to Laura, it was “the most meaningful experience of [her] entire life, and the most fun!” They were scheduled to repeat the walk in May of 2015.

Laura also is survived by her mother Frances Clark Kleiber of Lutherville, MD, sisters Lisa Thom and Julie Ensor, nieces Brittanie Thom and Nikki Gulgun, nephew Randall Thom, and stepdaughters Celina and Stephanie Yavelow. Her father Kenneth Kleiber and sister Judy Kleiber Gulgun preceded her in death.

Services were held at 11:00 AM on Saturday, July 26, at Groce Funeral Home, 72 Long Shoals Rd. in Arden. The family received guests starting at 10:00 AM. Pastor Michael Brown conducted the service; he was the same pastor who had married Laura and Chris at “Pretty Place,” on top of a mountain straddling the border of western North Carolina and South Carolina.

In lieu of flowers, the family graciously asks that you consider a contribution in Laura’s memory to

The Gideons International
PO Box 1506, Asheville, NC 28802
The Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease Foundation
341 W. 38
th St., Suite 501, New York, NY 10018.

On August 2, 2015, the family had a Memorial Event in Timonium, Maryland, that was attended by 54 friends and relatives, including six of our former classmates. Many of the people who shared remembrances also shared wonderful slideshows of Laura. I compiled a 6-minute video of short video clips of Laura to follow my talk. You can view that video here: