Jerry grew up in Curtis, Wisconsin, the son of a cheesemaker and a school teacher. Throughout his life, Jerry would often mention the Laabs Cheese Factories. Later in life, he and Nancy spent many hours researching the Laabs family genealogy. Jerry graduated from Tomah High School and UW-LaCrosse with a degree in Business and History. He remained a history buff throughout his life, focusing on the Civil War and the various battles that were fought during that time period. Jerry graduated from UW-Madison Law School in 1969. He was and remained an avid Wisconsin Badger sports fan. Jerry made many trips to Madison with his good friends, and as his boys grew it was common for Jerry, Marc and Jay to enjoy crisp fall afternoons watching the Badgers at Camp Randall. Jerry practiced law in Black River Falls for 32 years. He was committed to and cared about his clients. Many of his clients credited their success in part to Jerry’s advice and services. Jerry served as Jackson County Circuit Court Judge from 2002-2008. Judge Laabs genuinely cared about people and, knowing his decisions affected the lives of those before him, was thoughtful and deliberate in every decision he made. He also worked hard to develop and implement the County’s first treatment court program. Judge Laabs was very proud of this accomplishment and under his oversight, the treatment court was a success.
Nancy grew up in Black River Falls, the daughter of Lloyd and Virginia German. She graduated from Black River Falls Senior High School and UW-Eau Claire with a degree in Social Work. She was a social worker at Jackson County Health and Human Services, Family Heritage Care Center, and Ho-Chunk Nation Child and Family Services. Nancy is proud of the work her colleagues and she did to assist many people who were developmentally disabled move out of institutions and into their own homes with supportive services. She worked hard to enable people who were frail and elderly to remain living in their homes. Jerry and Nancy raised two boys, Marc and Jay. It is said of most parents that their children are their pride and joy – that is an understatement for Jerry and Nancy. They thoroughly enjoyed raising their sons. Both Marc and Jay graduated from Black River Falls Senior High School. Marc and his wife, Amy, have two children: Beckett and Tatum. Jay and his wife, Katherine, have three children: Elizabeth, Andrew and William. After Jerry’s retirement, he and Nancy spent the winter months in Arizona, highlighted by visits from family. They loved spending time with the grandkids. Jerry spoke of his grandchildren with the same pride and joy that he spoke of his own boys. After Jerry’s passing, Nancy left Black River Falls to be closer to her family, and now enjoys the additional time with her sons, daughter-in-laws and grandchildren. Community was important to both Jerry and Nancy. Jerry helped set up a number of non-profits in Jackson County including the Black River Child Care Center, Jackson County Interfaith Volunteer Caregivers and the Black River Falls Tennis Association to mention a few. Both were involved in various service organizations to benefit the community. Jerry and Nancy both taught Sunday School at Evangelical Lutheran Church. Education enabled Jerry and Nancy to pursue careers that were difficult, but rewarding. For this reason, Jay and Katherine have chosen to honor them with an annual scholarship to be awarded to a BRF graduating senior attending UW-Madison. Thank you Jay and Katherine for establishing a Traditional Scholarship Fund.