Weather Forecast


Louise Sowder LaBonte

Louise Sowder LaBonte, 80, of Park Rapids, formerly of Menahga, passed away Wednesday, April 22, 2009, at the Heritage Living Center in Park Rapids.

She was born Sept. 8, 1928, to Clint and Lydia (Ashby) Sowder in Verndale. She attended school in Verndale, graduating from Verndale High School with the class of 1946. She and her twin sister Lucile went on to attend Normal School for teachers in Staples for one year before beginning a teaching career that spanned more than 35 years. She and Lucile took their first teaching job at the same small, two-room school house. She continued her schooling, taking summer classes and attending night school at Bemidji State College eventually earning her bachelor's degree. She met her husband, Jack LaBonte, at the Hubbard Church and they courted for more than three years. During his last year of college, he wrote to Louise twice each day. She and Jack were married June 10, 1948, at the Calvary Methodist Church in Minneapolis. They lived in Medford, Thief River Falls and St. Cloud, Minn. She taught elementary classes, mostly the third grade in Medford, Thief River Falls and Rockville. In 1981, she and Jack retired to 1st Crow Wing Lake near Park Rapids, where they enjoyed the next 18 years together. They moved to Summerfield Place in Park Rapids and then in November, after Jack's death, she moved to Heritage Living Center in Park Rapids.

She had a green thumb. She grew beautiful house plants and a wonderful garden for all to enjoy. She passed many hours doing crafts including knitting, crocheting and needlepoint on plastic canvas. She made intricate churches from plastic canvas with music boxes inside that are cherished by those who received them. She was a member of Hubbard United Methodist Church where she was active in the choir for many years. She belonged to the Retired Teachers Association and the William Larson American Legion Auxiliary in Bertha. She and her twin sister, Lucile, both developed Parkinson's disease, so, using their talents, they organized a Parkinson's support group in Wadena where they shared information monthly for several years. Most of all, she devoted her life to her beloved husband, Jack, whom she loved with all her heart.

Funeral services will be held Monday, April 27, at the Hubbard United Methodist Church in Hubbard, with the Rev. Gary Walpole officiating. Acitve casketbearers will be Wayne Goepferd, Allen Tramm, Philip Tramm, Tim Tramm, Arden LaBonte, Edward LaBonte, Sam Pike and Donald Pike. Honorary casketbearers will be all of her family and friends. Interment will be made in the Greenlawn Cemetery in Verndale. Arrangements were provided by the Jones-Pearson Funeral Home in Park Rapids. To leave on line condolences, visit

Survivors include her sisters, Lucile Lieder of Park Rapids and Marge (Harold) Goepferd of Bertha; sisters-in-law, Edith (Dale) Pike of Park Rapids; brother-in-law, Leonard LaBonte of Park Rapids; as well as nieces and nephews, other relatives and friends.

She was preceded in death by her parents; husband, Jack in 2002; brother-in-law, John Lieder; and sister-in-law,

Hazel LaBonte.