Laura M. Doyle-Brewster, 56, of Glenside, a caregiver and adventurer, died of complications from the H1N1 strain of flu Dec. 2 at Abington Memorial Hospital.
Mrs. Doyle-Brewster grew up with 12 siblings in Auburn, N.Y. After graduating from high school, she and her future husband, Jeffrey Brewster, traveled through Europe.
The couple tried homesteading in Alaska, where she worked on a service crew for Alaska Airlines, attended the University of Alaska, and was one of the only females on crews working on the oil pipeline, he said.
Returning to New York in 1975, they married and started a family before moving to Athens, Ga., where he pursued a doctorate, and she worked in a marine biology lab and cared for her growing family. She was resourceful on a stringent budget, he said, sewing clothes and blankets, and making homemade baby food and yogurt.
For five years, Mrs. Doyle-Brewster and her husband lived in Michigan. They settled in Glenside in 1989, when he took a position with the Department of Agriculture's Eastern Regional Research Center in Wyndmoor.
The mother of four competitive swimmers, Mrs. Doyle-Brewster became manager, swim instructor, and swim-meet judge at the Abington Club.
After her children were grown, she was a caregiver to an elderly man with diabetes for five years. For two years, until this past summer, she was the innkeeper at a bed and breakfast in Skaneateles, N.Y.
Most recently, she was a companion and caregiver to a friend who was partially paralyzed. Last month, Mrs. Doyle-Brewster and her friend traveled for 12 days in China on a "dream" vacation, her family said.
The daughter of a professional pianist and composer, Mrs. Doyle-Brewster prided herself on being current with the latest music and fashion, her family said. She took her children to museums and Broadway shows, and on bike rides, and insisted that they have good manners and a strong sense of independence and express their creativity.
In addition to her husband, Mrs. Doyle-Brewster is survived by sons Damien, Patrick, and Kevin; a daughter, Marni Duffy; her mother, Jean Doyle; three brothers; seven sisters; and five grandchildren.
Friends may call from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday at May Funeral Home, 354 Easton Rd., Glenside. A Funeral Mass will be at 1 p.m. Saturday at St. Vincent de Paul Church, 109 E. Price St., Philadelphia. There will be a memorial service today in Auburn.