Sydney Lau Obituary, Iowa City IA, Funeral Arrangements and Visitation

Sydney Lau Obituary, Death – Sydney Lau, 22, of Iowa City, formerly of New Hampton, died at the University of Iowa Hospital & Clinics on August 20, 2023. Rev. James Goerend will officiate in a Mass of Christian Burial at Holy Family Parish in New Hampton on Monday, August 28, 2023. Hugeback – Johnson Funeral Home & Crematory in New Hampton will be open on Sunday, August 27, 2023, from 1:30 to 5:30 p.m. Visitation will resume one hour before the Mass at the church on Monday.

Sydney Denyse Lau, a beloved daughter, sister, aunt, granddaughter, and friend, died in Iowa City, IA on August 20, 2023. Sydney Lau, Dennis and Michelle (McAloon) Lau’s treasured (favourite) daughter, was born on January 9, 2001, in Oskaloosa, Iowa. She was a compassionate, clever, creative, and generous woman whose life was defined by her love of music, loyalty to family and friends, and commitment to her community.

Sydney grew up in Winner, SD before moving to New Hampton, IA with her family in 2007. After attending St. Joseph Catholic School through the eighth grade, she graduated from New Hampton High School in 2019. Sydney was involved in her school’s community. She was a cheerleader for football and wrestling. She took involved in musical theatre. She had a natural sense of style and refused to compromise her commitment to looking great; she was duly named Best Dressed in her class. She gained valuable life experience while working at Poor Richards and as a barista at the Gathering Place coffee shop.

Sydney attended the University of Iowa in Iowa City after graduating from high school. Her long-term goal was to work in healthcare, so she took classes to get there. She also worked for the University of Illinois Hospitals and Clinics as a security guard. Due to the Covid-19 epidemic, her studies were suspended, and she returned to New Hampton to serve at MercyOne New Hampton Medical Centre. She was a regular cantor at New Hampton’s St. Joe’s Catholic Church. Sydney returned to Iowa City in the autumn of 2022 to start a new work as a registration clerk at a University of Iowa OB-GYN Clinic. Sydney was a good fit (despite the fact that she was a rather frightening security guard). Her employees liked her and she enjoyed her job.

She arrived in Iowa City, which she enjoyed. She had a nice flat that she was really proud of. She had a thriving social life and a large number of close friends. Sydney loves animals, especially her dogs Caesar and Baxter and cats Bosco and Waylon. She flaunted her love of cats loudly, literally, and had many, many (many) shirts with cats on them. It would be inaccurate to say Sydney “enjoyed” playing cards. She launched war on playing cards. No matter how much she loved people, you didn’t want to be on her team if you couldn’t pull your weight. She had high standards. Yes, it is right.

Despite her opinion that she was a horrible cook, she adored food and enjoyed sharing it with others around her. She could select the right restaurant for family trips. Her hometown fave, on the other hand, was the Pub at the Pinicon. Sydney recently stated (in a job description) that “kindness from strangers” and “laughter with people I love” were two of her favourite things (along with parking spaces that didn’t need her to parallel park). That was her way of life.

Sydney wrote the following about herself as a child many years ago: “Denyse Lau, Sydney.” Who likes cats, prefers green, and stands tall. Shannon, September, Summer, Dustin, Dane, Derek, David, Devin, Samantha, Stephanie, Shawnessy, and Shelby’s older sister are among those present. Who likes to spend time with family, friends, and kitties? Who doesn’t consider themselves lucky to own a dog? Who is in need of food, shelter, and oxygen? Who is fair, respectful, and considerate? Who fears spiders, ghosts, and heights? Who wants to travel to Ireland? Who doesn’t desire a large house full of cats? What is the name of Mrs. Heying’s student? Syd.” The girl who wrote that was, without a doubt, the adult she became.

Music was Sydney’s second greatest passion, after family and friends. Sydney embodied music. She had a lovely voice that she frequently used. She adored singing the National Anthem *for* people at weddings, funeral services, and sporting events. She preferred to sing *with* others, particularly in small groups of family and friends. Sydney’s family has selected hymns that she enjoyed singing at her Celebration of Life.

Sydney was also a multi-instrumentalist and prolific composer of unique music. She had a music studio set up in her bedroom at her New Hampton mansion (albeit she was periodically caught producing tracks in her wardrobe because ‘the house is too noisy!’). Her writing ranged from venomous to heartbreakingly beautiful. Her songs displayed her personality: her music is bright and energetic, exquisite and passionate, frequently amusing, and never takes itself too seriously.

Sydney’s family chose one of her songs, “In Between,” which she wrote and performed, to accompany her on her Honour Walk at the University of Iowa Hospital, right before the organ recovery procedure that saved three lives. This song will also be played while Sydney’s family walks with her during her Celebration of Life. GODSPEED, SYD-SYD!!!!!! WE LOVE YOU!!!!

Sydney Denyse Lau was a true genius in every way. We’d say she glowed, but she’d mock us for saying so. She exuded beauty and kindness. She was vivid, alive, and imaginative. Dennis and Michelle Lau of New Hampton, IA, as well as her twelve siblings and their spouses and children, survive her: Shannon Lau and Greg Allen (Forest and Meadow Allen) of Northfield, MN, Ember Lau and Adam Bell (Magdalene Bell) of Des Moines, IA, Summer and Jeff Swenson (Isaac, Lila, and Ruby Swenson) of Belmond, IA, Dustin and Amanda Lau (Cecilia and Emma Lau) Samantha Lau and Stephanie Lau and Sean Corpstein of Ankeny, IA, Shawnessy Lau and Gunnar Mills of Salt Lake City, UT, Shelby Lau and Matthew Gleason of New Hampton, IA, and Phyllis Lau of Mason City, IA, are the children of Phyllis Lau, a retired teacher.

Her paternal grandparents, Paul and Velma Lau, and maternal grandparents, Harry and Tres McAloon, died before she was born. In lieu of flowers, please send a donation to Iowa Donor Network at

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