James "Jim" Michael Laabs

Funeral services were held on April 30 at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Viroqua for James "Jim" Michael Laabs of Viroqua. Jim died at the age of 42 on Thursday afternoon, April 26, 2007 at Gundersen Lutheran Hospital, after a lifelong battle with kidney disease. The Rev. Kathy Ingbritsen officiated the funeral service and the family greeted relatives and friends at the church prior to the service. Thorson-Reetz Funeral Home in Viroqua assisted the family with arrangements.

Jim was born on May 13, 1964, son of Hugo and Lois (nee Bartell) Laabs in Mequon. He was baptized at Trinity Freistadt Church in Mequon. Jim grew up in Mequon and at age 17 the family moved to Viroqua. He graduated from Viroqua High School with the class of 83.

Jim was an inspiration to everyone who knew him. He battled kidney disease from the age of 6. Jim was the poster child for the Wisconsin Kidney Foundation from 1973-75. He enjoyed spending time with his nieces and nephews and watching NASCAR, especially the #2 car driven by Rusty Wallace.

Jim is survived by his mother Lois of Viroqua; brothers Keith (Claudia) of Hartford, Brian (Deb) of Westby and Jerry (Lucy) of Thiensville; sisters Barbara Laabs of Saukville and Karen Laabs of Viroqua; nieces and nephews Randy (Wanda) Knapp, Heidi (Steve) Ruewer, Jenny (Dave) Ritchey and Joshua Laabs; and his special girls Becca and Rachel Laabs. He is further survived by five great-nieces and great-nephews, aunts, uncles, other relatives and many friends.

Jim was preceded in death by his father Hugo on April 22, 1999.