FUNERAL SERVICES: 11:00 am on Thursday, August 26, 2010 at the Hubbard United Methodist Church in Hubbard, MN.
VISITATION: 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm on Wednesday, August 25, 2010 at Jones-Pearson Funeral Home in Park Rapids, MN and one hour prior to services on Thursday at the church.
INTERMENT: Hubbard Cemetery in Hubbard, MN.
SURVIVORS: His children, Carol (Tom) Roth of Bloomington, MN, Edward (Debi) LaBonte of Park Rapids, MN and Arden (Cindy) LaBonte of Side Lake, MN; 7 grandchildren; his sister, Edith (Dale) Pike of Park Rapids, MN, as well as many nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.
LEONARD HENRY LaBONTE
July 16, 1922 – August 20, 2010
Leonard Henry LaBonte, age 88, a life long Park Rapids/Hubbard, MN area resident, passed away peacefully on Friday, August 20, 2010 at the Heritage Living Center in Park Rapids.
Leonard was born on July 16, 1922 in Crow Wing Township, Hubbard, MN to Edward and Freda (Bement) LaBonte. He attended country school in Hubbard through the eighth grade and then went on to attend the North Central Agricultural School, a part of the University of MN, located in Grand Rapids, MN. As a young man, Leonard gained employment working on the Ira Benham farm near Hubbard. Ira was an early innovator in agriculture and Leonard learned much from his time there. On November 26, 1942, Leonard was united in marriage to Hazel Iola Moen. This union was blessed with two sons: Edward and Arden and a daughter, Carol. In January of 1945, he enlisted in the United States Army where he proudly served his country in the Asiatic-Pacific theatre of War. In late 1946, Leonard was honorably discharged and returned to Hubbard. In 1947, he moved with his young family to Austin, MN where he worked for the Hormel Meat Packing plant. Later he got a job with a large dairy in the South St. Paul area. In 1949, they returned to the Hubbard prairie where Leonard and his family engaged in farming on their own crop and livestock enterprise. In 1952, Leonard designed and built himself a new home for his growing family on the farm. For a number of years, he also worked for the Minnesota Dairy Herd Improvement Association testing dairy herds. In addition to the farm responsibilities, Leonard and Hazel took over the ownership and management of the Hubbard Store for 19 years until selling it in 1979. Leonard began working as a rural mail carrier which he continued at for many years until his retirement in 1984. Each spring, Leonard looked forward to planting a large vegetable garden which he would nurture into fruitful abundance to share with family and friends. He will be long remembered for his proficiency in raising bumper crops of squash. Throughout his lifetime, Leonard loved to dance and looked forward to attending many dances with his wife, Hazel. In 1997, they sold their farm and moved into Park Rapids. He endured the heartache of the death of his precious wife, Hazel in 2001. In 2008 Leonard learned to knit slippers for our servicemen and women overseas. He knit 102 pair in a little over a year during which time he helped to organize the Park Rapids Chapter of Operation Minnesota Nice, through which the slippers are sent. Leonard was a very active member of the Otto Hendrickson American Legion Post #212 in Park Rapids where he served on the Military Funeral Honor Guard for many years. He was also a member of the 40 et. 8 where he was a regular worker at the steak dinners. For many years he volunteered much time calling Bingo for a number of Sr. Citizen groups. He was also a member of the Park Rapids Eagles Aerie 870 and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. Leonard was a long time member of the Hubbard United Methodist Church.
Leonard will be lovingly remembered by his children, Carol (Tom) Roth of Bloomington, MN, Edward (Debi) LaBonte of Park Rapids and Arden (Cindy) LaBonte of Side Lake, MN; 7 grandchildren; his sister, Edith (Dale) Pike of Park Rapids, as well as many nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.
He was preceded in death by his wife, his parents, l brother, Jack LaBonte and a dear friend, Ann Trudell.
Funeral services will be held 11 AM Thursday, August 26, 2010 at the Hubbard United Methodist Church in Hubbard, Minnesota with the Reverend Laurie Kantonen officiating. Casket bearers will be: Wilbur Norman, Lloyd Schrum, Jon Strendin, Earl Holmes, Sam Pike, Phil Pike, Mark Helfrich and Mark Wilkins. The honorary casket bearers will be the Otto Hendrickson American Legion Post and his grandchildren: Kelly Jensen, Brenda Keppler, Mindy King, Andy LaBonte, Emily Jantz, Nick Jantz and Bret Wilson. Interment will be made next to his wife, Hazel in the Hubbard Cemetery.