Laura McKane Chioldi, AIA, age 48, died on February 2, 2019, in her Fayetteville home. Diagnosed with stage 4, metastatic breast cancer in 2003, Laura courageously lived with the disease, leading a productive, vibrant life with dignity and humor.
Born Laura Alice McKane in Hyannis, Massachusetts, she launched a love of nature as an infant on the beaches. Her family moved to Aurora, Illinois, where, as a young girl, she became a voracious reader, a travel enthusiast, and a dark chocolate fiend. These traits only intensified as an adult. Influenced by the horizontal lines of the Illinois landscape, and living in the shadows of Chicago’s rich architecture heritage, Laura developed a keen interest in architecture.
She attended West Aurora High School; and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she earned both a Bachelor and Master of Architecture.
Laura’s architecture career began in 1997 in Tulsa, Oklahoma at Fritz Baily Architects, where she served on the design team for Fire Station #7, and the Kendall-Whittier Library. Later at KKT Architects, she worked on Charles Page Library, and James Adams Elementary Library. Moving to Fayetteville in 2002, she was employed by the University of Arkansas’ Community Design Center. Next at Tucker Sadler Architects, Laura served as project manager for Seven Hills Transitional Housing in Fayetteville, and Shoppes at Pinnacle Hills Promenade in Rogers. She also designed private residences in Minnesota, Illinois, and Arkansas. Remarkably, Laura achieved licensure and most of this work while being treated for cancer.
Laura enjoyed photography. Favorite subjects of hers were old buildings, barns, and all things in nature. She was an avid collector of mid-century furniture, often spending time searching for hidden treasures with friends and husband to decorate their mid-century home. Above all else, she delighted in laughter and conversation around a shared meal with family and friends.
We will remember Laura for her infectious smile; her beautiful blue eyes; her sense of wonderment and curiosity; her wit; and her inspirational grit and grace in the face of illness.
Laura is survived by husband, Ronald Chioldi of Fayetteville; mother, Maureen McKane of Aurora, Illinois; father, Joseph McKane of Batavia, Illinois; brother Michael McKane, and nephew, Ronan McKane of Chicago, Illinois.
A memorial service is planned at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Fayetteville on Friday, March 15 at 4:00 p.m. Gifts in her memory can be made to Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
Her family thanks the staff at Highlands Oncology, Northwest Arkansas Neuroscience Institute, UAMS Neurosurgery, Northwestern Memorial Hospital (Chicago), and Circle of Life Hospice.