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Thu April 17, 2014
Occupational Therapist Terri LaManno Warmly Remembered
At 10 a.m. on Thursday morning at two locations in the metro area, Kansas Citians will gather to pay their respects to Terri LaManno, the third victim killed in Sunday's Overland Park, Kan., shooting.
St. Peter's Catholic Church in Kansas City, Mo., will host a Mass of Christian Burial for Terri LaManno.
LaManno will also be honored at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City in Overland Park.
But thoughts of Terri LaManno have been stirring in Amanda Daniels' mind all week.
Daniels worked with LaManno at Children's Center for the Visually Impaired in Kansas City for the last eight years, LaManno served as an occupational therapist for infants and young children.
She helped children with visual impairments, including some with multiple disabilities. LaManno taught them fine motor skills, eye-hand coordination and sensory-system strategies.
"She loved it," says Daniels.
Terri LaManno started out in nursing, and Daniels doesn't believe LaManno completely realized what becoming an occupational therapist would mean.
"But it grew and it tugged on her heart," she says. "And it just became this passion in her life."
LaManno's job was not easy, says Daniels. Occupational therapists like LaManno enter families' lives in a vulnerable period - just after an infant's devastating diagnosis.
"Terri really developed this ability to just walk in and meet families where they were and start to work with them," Daniels explains. "And start to build the parents' confidence in the parents' own skills. And then show their children love in a way that really encompassed her life."
LaManno became a "calming, constant" presence in the lives of families she worked with.
She often maintained a professional attitude while working with parents.
"And then they'd look over and she'd be kissing and loving on their child," recalls Daniels. "And just showing them a level of affection that they didn't necessarily get from other places."
Family friend Brian Fowler says that LaManno's calm demeanor made her perfect for the position.
LaManno was a devout Catholic. She attended St. Peter's Catholic Church in the Brookside neighborhood, where she served as an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion.
Terri LaManno visited her mother at Village Shalom at least once a week, according to Fowler.
She was killed while visiting her mother on Sunday. LaManno was 53.
LaManno is survived by her husband, Jim, and three children.
The Children's Center for the Visually Impaired has set up a scholarship fund in LaManno's honor.