Richard A. Laubhan

Richard A. Laubhan

Richard Alden Laubhan, 89, of Galena, IL, died September 7 at the Elizabeth Nursing Home in Elizabeth IL. In keeping with Dick’s wishes, no religious ceremony is planned. However, an autumn “celebration of life” get-together and lunch will be held at The Galena Territory lounge at 11 a.m. on Saturday, November 3, 2018. The Furlong Funeral Chapel, Galena is assisting the family. He was born Feb. 20, 1929 in Normal, IL, the only child of Maurice A. and Gladys V. (Erickson) Laubhan. He grew up in Pontiac, IL. At Pontiac Township High School he lettered in basketball, played trumpet in the band and orchestra, and was editor of the school newspaper.  He received Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, Evanston IL. While an undergraduate, he played first trumpet in the NU marching band at the 1949 Rose Bowl, where the Wildcats defeated the University of California 17-14. In 1951 Dick entered the U.S. Air Force and married Mildred Pauline (Paula) Burton, also of Pontiac. That same year, he attended Officer Candidate School (OCS) and ultimately attained the rank of captain in the Air Force Reserve, receiving an honorable discharge in 1965. He began his professional career as editor of the Woodstock (IL) Community News, a country weekly, and then moved to Rock Island, IL as a reporter and assistant state editor of The Argus.  In 1956 he joined the advertising department of Deere & Co., Moline, leaving in 1963 to become Assistant Advertising Manager for A. O. Smith Company’s Harvestore Division, Arlington Heights, IL.  In the mid-1960s Mr. Laubhan entered the field of public relations as an account executive for Burson-Marsteller. He later became vice president-public relations for LMN, Inc., Downers Grove, IL; then, vice president of the Chicago subsidiary of Selvage, Lee & Howard Public Relations, New York and Cleveland.  In 1972, he formed his own PR firm, Project Communications, Inc. (PCI) in Chicago, serving such clients as Interlake Steel; Ekco Containers; Weyerhauser Packaging Div., and the Chemical Marketing Div. of Northwest Industries.  Later, he became public relations director at The Long Company, Independent Bakers Cooperative. His first marriage ended in divorce. In 1980, he married Elizabeth Pryse (Liz) Mitchell, formerly of Cambridge, MA and Richmond, VA.  They lived in Chicago’s Sandburg Village for many years, and in 1994, they built a post and beam house and moved to The Galena Territory in Galena IL. They co-owned and operated PCI until 2004. Dick was a member of Sigma Delta Chi (SDX), Society of Professional Journalists; the Chicago Headline Club; Zeta Psi (social) fraternity; and the Public Relations Society of America.  He was a former member of the Rotary Club of Galena, for whom he was secretary/newsletter editor for a number of years; he was named co-Rotarian of the Year in 2007. An accomplished and dedicated golfer, Dick was for two decades a member of the Northern Illinois Men’s Amateur Golf Association (NIMAGA); in 1982, at age 52, he was the winner of that organization’s first Seniors’ Championship.  He was for a time a ranger at Eagle Ridge South Course, especially loving early mornings on the course, and he greatly enjoyed his long membership in the Dubuque Golf & Country Club, where he played for The Missing Links men’s league team and golfed most weekdays with an informal group he called “The Geezers.” He made two witnessed holes in one during his golf career. Dick was an amateur astronomer inspired by Carl Sagan and Neil deGrasse Tyson, and he constructed and flew model airplanes.  He was a volunteer for many years at the Dubuque Regional Humane Society, from which he and Liz adopted two dogs, and in his later years he volunteered at Safe Haven closer to home. He was an enthusiastic member of the JoDaviess Conservation Foundation (and before that, the Natural Area Guardians) who participated in various photo projects and long served as the monitor of a bluebird trail along the street where he lived. A demon crossword enthusiast and hopeless punster, he also kept his mind sharp with numerous letters to local newspapers and engaged in lively e-mail correspondence with columnists including Chicago-based Neil Steinberg and Andrew Greeley.  Dick is survived by his wife Liz; their beloved dog Cooper; a half-sister he met late in life, June Edwards (Jim) Dodd of San Antonio; his children Paul Richard (Jo Janice) Laubhan of Chicago, John Speed (Joni White) Laubhan of Thomason IL, Beth Laubhan Niemi (Steve) of Harvard IL and Daniel Burton Laubhan of Grayslake IL; and four grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his father, mother, beloved aunt and uncle Zelma and John Speed, his grandparents Alice and Oscar Erickson, a half-brother he never met, and his daughter-in-law Maria Perez Laubhan. Dick left us in the sure and certain knowledge that he would be joined at the Rainbow Bridge by his late beloved pack members and by other dear friends, both human and canine. Memorials may be made to The Jo Daviess Conservation Foundation (jdcf.org), Safe Haven Humane Society (safehavenforpets.org), the Dubuque shelter (dbqhumane.org) or the animal rescue group of your choice. Gratitude to the Elizabeth Nursing Home and the Hospice of Dubuque.

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