Donald Labbee, 88

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Donald Joseph Labbee, 88, formerly of Mountain Home, died peacefully at his home in Riverside, Calif., on Friday, Oct. 7, 2005.

Don was born on May 27, 1917, in Mountain Home, the second son to parents Joseph and Ida Rohrer Labbee. Don enjoyed a "highly adventurous childhood" here, and graduated from Mountain Home High School in 1935.

He then left for employment opportunities in Southern California, and lived there for the rest of his life.

His great love for the automobile industry was demonstrated in his career, as he worked for the Buick dealership in Beverly Hills in the '50s, was the general manager of the Cadillac dealership in Hollywood in the '60s, and then was the co-owner of the Volkswagen dealership in Corona when he moved to Riverside County in the '70s. He then worked for both the Riverside County and San Bernardino County Chambers of Commerce, before retiring in 1983. Don was also a real estate broker since the 1940s.

Don was married three times.

His first wife, Flora Goddard, gave him five children, his son Jan, and daughters Lillian Gaye, Jill, Cheryl, and Star, before preceding him in death.

He then married Shirley Anne Jackson and had two more daughters, Colleen and Anne.

He then married the love of his life, Shirley Mae Papin, in 1979, and had lived with her in Riverside for the last 26 years.

"Don enjoyed life tremendously, taking great pleasure in his family and friends and traveling the country extensively in his beloved motorhome, with his soul-mate, Shirley, by his side," his family said. "One of their favorite locales to travel to was his home state of Idaho, which he thoroughly and frequently explored.

"Don will always be remembered for his wonderful sense of humor, his colorful story-telling, his compassion, and for his love of life. His faith in Jesus Christ carried him through his most difficult moments and brought him great comfort day to day," his family said.

He is survived by: his wife, his one son and six daughters, 14 grandchildren, his nephews and nieces, and eight great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by: his brother Paul, and his many aunts, uncles, and cousins, all from the Labbee, Rohrer, and McGrath families in Mountain Home.

A rosary and funeral mass was held at St. Catherine's of Alexandria in Riverside on Oct. 13, arranged by the Sierra Memorial Chapel Mortuary.

His final resting place will be the Mountain View Cemetery in Mountain Home, where a graveside service will be held in July 2006.