BioA: Laabs, Mr. and Mrs. Arthur G. (60th - 1969)

Contact: Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon

Surnames: Laabs, Bergstrom, Paulson

----Source: Clark County Press (Neillsville, Clark Co., WI) /1969

Laabs, Mr. and Mrs. Arthur G. (60th - 29 May 1969)

Mr. and Mrs. Arthur G. Laabs of Colby, presently making their home at Memorial Home in Neillsville, observed their 60th wedding anniversary last Thursday in the home.

The parents of Mrs. Edward (Anita) Bergstrom, formerly of Owen and now living in Eagle River, Mr. and Mrs. Laabs were married May 29, 1909, in Stetsonville. Both are in good health and with good minds, and they enjoyed little attentions paid to them on their anniversary by friends, relatives and by Mrs. Ethel Paulson, social director of the nursing home.

In his active years, Mr. Laabs was an influence in the cheese industry of central Wisconsin. He was honored as a “truly great cheesemaker” during the annual convention of the Central Wisconsin Cheesemakers and Buttermakers Association back in 1956.

At the age of 15 Mr. Laabs became a helper in a cheese factory owned by his brother, Emil, at Curtiss. At the age of 16, he started making cheese in his father’s factory, four miles northwest of Dorchester, and operated this factory for four years. At this time he was believed to be the youngest cheesemaker in Wisconsin.

During the winter of 1903-1904, while operating his father’s factory, Mr. Laabs attended the Wisconsin Dairy School at Madison and was the youngest in a class of 154 members. In the following two years Laabs accepted an assignment as an instructor in cheesemaking at the Madison school, and was recognized as an authority in the trade.

That Clark and other counties making up central Wisconsin should become a leader in dairying was foreseen by the young cheesemaker back in 1907. Addressing the Wisconsin Cheesemakers Association at that time, he predicted that “it is only a question of time, and a short time at that, when north central Wisconsin will become one of the greatest and most successful dairy districts in the United Sates.

Laabs attended the La Crosse Business College in 1907, and on September 1, 1908, he was placed in charge of the creamery department at the Madison Dairy School.

In 1910, he took over a cooperative creamery at Peshtigo which was in financial trouble. Within three years he had purchased the building and made a success of the factory of 140 patrons. Butter production, during that period climbed to as much as 1,000 pounds a day during the flush. Failing health forced Mr. Laabs to sell the creamery in 1916. He served as assistant superintendent of the dairy department of the Wisconsin State Fair in that year.

In 1918, Mr. and Mrs. Laabs went into dairy farming near Colby, where they raised registered Guernsey cattle. In 1929, he was chosen as State Master Farmer; and in August of 1939 he received a certificate of recognition from the Wisconsin department of agriculture for outstanding achievement in farming and “unselfish service in the promotion of farm youth.” In 1944 he was named Key Dairyman for Marathon County and was presented with an award and certificate by the Wisconsin Dairymen’s Association.

From 1945 until they moved to Memorial Home here, Mr. and Mrs. Laabs lived in retirement in Colby, and for several of those years Mr. Laabs served as a farm appraiser for the Veterans Administrations and area banks.



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