Willard Laabs, 80 of Belle Plaine, passed away on March 11, 2021 at Methodist Hospital in St. Louis Park. His wife Joyce died April 15, 2020.
There will be a combined memorial service for Willie and Joyce at 11 a.m. on Thursday, March 18 at St. John Lutheran Church in Belle Plaine. There will be a visitation on Wednesday evening from 4-7 p.m. at the Kolden Funeral Home in Belle Plaine. Interment will follow the service at Oakwood Cemetery in Belle Plaine. Military rites for Willard provided by the Belle Plaine Vet’s Club.
Willard was born in New Prague on August 23, 1940. He was raised and lived in Belle Plaine nearly his entire life. Willard attended country school until the 8th grade at which time he attended city school at Belle Plaine High School where he graduated in 1958.
He served in the United States Army from 1963 to 1965. He was given the Vietnam Service Medal with one bronze service star.
He married Joyce Vogt on October 21, 1967. The couple built their first home in Victoria and lived there for eight years before moving to a farm outside of Belle Plaine where they lived for 19 years. Later, Joyce and Willie moved to Elmore where they lived for about 10 years.
At retirement, Joyce and Willie moved to a lake home in Rice before finally moving back to the Belle Plaine area to be closer to their children. They were married for 52 years.
As a young married couple, Willie and Joyce spent many weekends with friends and family at many of the local ballrooms dancing the night away! This was a favorite for them and was where Joyce and Willie first met.
They made several trips in the US to places like Hawaii, Branson, Texas, California, and New York. Out of the U.S. they made several trips to Mexico, and cruises to Alaska and the Panama Canal.
Joyce and Willie spent 13 of their younger years as co-owners and operators of Saukinac Campground in Sauk Centre. Weekends and summers were spent entertaining campground guests. Willie also worked as an electrical engineer for HEI for many years and later on his own.
Forever loved and missed by their children, Kerri Kabes of Le Sueur, Angie (Terry) Kahle of Belle Plaine, Cameron Laabs of Aberdeen, South Dakota; grandchildren, Kailey (Josh) Wassing, Jace and Kenzie Kabes, Lillianne and Addison Kahle, Jamie Bleick (special friend, Greg Johnson), Cavin and Ethan Laabs, and great granddaughter Braelynn Bleick. Willard’s brother Harlan Laabs and Joyce’s sisters Nancy Fiebelkorn and Cindy Prindle, and many nieces and nephews.
Joyce is preceded in death by her father, Fred G. Vogt, mother, Lillian M. Vogt and brother Lyle Vogt. Willard is preceded in death by his father, Anton Laabs, mother, Alvina Laabs, and siblings, Arvella Noll, Delores Reuhling, Bernice Meger, Mabel Bessel, Jerry Laabs and nephew Brian Laabs.